HRC Blog

Conservative Former Jacksonville Mayor Supports Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

John DelaneyJohn Delaney, the conservative Republican president of the University of North Florida and former Jacksonville mayor, came out yesterday in support of a proposed city ordinance that would prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in employment. Delaney is not the first high-profile leader to support the ordinance – the Nobel Prize-winning Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who taught for a semester at the University of North Florida in 2003, also weighed in with a letter to city councilors.

Jacksonville city councilors are currently considering whether to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s existing anti-discrimination protections. With more than 800,000 residents, Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida. If the ordinance passes, Jacksonville will join more than 160 cities and counties around the country in prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Demonstrating that discrimination is not a partisan issue, Delaney begins his piece by writing, “I am a pro-life religious conservative. I pray and read the Bible daily. I'm a rock-solid, loyal Republican. I am with Ronald Reagan's ideological tutor, Sen. Barry Goldwater regarding homosexuality: Live and let live.”

Municipal ordinances and corporate policies prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are critically important to LGBT workers because it’s still legal to fire someone solely for being lesbian, gay, or bisexual in 29 states and solely for being transgender in 34 states.  To find out whether employment discrimination is still legal in your state, check out HRC’s map of statewide employment laws and policies.

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