Our Goals

It’s an unfortunate fact—people can and do discriminate against members of the LGBT community in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodation. Our overarching goal is to change that—by supporting the modernization of Jacksonville’s existing Human Rights Ordinance (HRO). Amending Jacksonville’s HRO would add protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in these three key areas.

Why it matters

Jacksonville is the largest American city that lacks human rights protections for LGBT people. By failing to stand against discrimination, we send an unintentional message that we condone it. That puts us at a disadvantage from a business and civic perspective. Modernizing and updating Jacksonville’s HRO creates a wide range of positive results for our community. Among them:

Modernizing Jacksonville’s HRO requires a variety of coordinated strategic initiatives, including:

Who We Are
Consensus-driven. Community-based. And powered by passion.


The Jacksonville Coalition for Equality is a group of concerned citizens committed to securing passage of an updated Human Rights Ordinance in Jacksonville. The updated ordinance needs to include protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in employment, housing and public accommodations. We operate with transparency, mutual respect and hard work.

Membership: JCE includes a diverse range of people, including many straight allies, who share a common passion: to make Jacksonville a fully inclusive and welcoming community – in law and in practice. Participants include leaders, activists and interested citizens from local business, civic and religious organizations. See yourself in the picture? We welcome new members enthusiastically.

Steering Team: A steering team coordinates and directs JCE activities. Steering team members are Dan Merkan (Chair), James Eddy, Laura Lane, Bobbie O’Connor, Chevara Orrin, Tricia Russell, Judy Sheklin, and Evin Willman.

Operating Committees: All JCE members are strongly encouraged to participate on at least one committee. The committees are: Legislative, Faith, Small Business, Communications, Straight Allies, and Gender Identity/Expression Education.

Meetings: The Steering Team and full coalition meets every month. Committees meet monthly or as needed. Minutes of meetings of the Steering Team and full coalition are distributed to members.


Fairness and opportunity are good for everyone. So it’s no surprise that JCE has a wide range of partners in the business, faith-based and civic communities. We’re proud to list some of them here.

Community partners:
ACLU Florida
Equality Florida
Faith in Public Life
Human Rights Campaign
Jacksonville Chapter of the National Organization for Women
Jacksonville Florida Black Pride
Jax Young Voters Coalition
League of Women Voters Jacksonville
New Florida Majority
OneJax Institute
PFLAG of Jacksonville
University of North Florida LGBT Resource Center
We Are Straight Allies