Charter Amendment Including Transgender Ordinance Moves Forward
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
The Gainesville City Commission authorized the city attorney to write the resolution that will go on the ballot. But many of the commissioners expressed their clear displeasure that they were doing so. If passed, the amendment would abolish Gainesville's transgender ordinance, as well as remove protections for discrimination based on sexual orientation and other factors.
Almost a dozen people waited three hours through other city business to get their chance to speak for and against the proposed amendment. But before they spoke, the city attorney's office presented what the charter would do--and it's more than what some who may have signed the petition thought.
One of the biggest issues city attorneys brought up is that the language of the petition has no qualifier that separates city laws from state and federal laws. In certain situations, those state and federal laws give protections to groups of people that the amendment, if passed, would ban. For example, there could be no preference to military veterans when hiring for a job. And families could be discriminated against when applying for housing.
"So I think it's very far-reaching, poorly-written, and not what the city of Gainesville wants to be known for," says Michelle Ott who spoke out against the amendment.
Proponents of the charter amendment told the commission the petition was the only way to get their voice heard by the commissioners.
"Limit you, as city commissioners, because you're not looking out for the best interests of me, and my family," says Phil Courson, a proponent of the charter amendment.
A city attorney also mentioned that because of some issues with the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment, she said it was very likely that, regardless of the result, the losing side would challenge it in court.
City Attorney Marion Radson will bring back the draft of the amendment as it will appear on the ballot to the commissioners for their approval at a later date.
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