Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hate group leader attempts to invalidate Jacksonville nondiscrimination ordinance

Mat Staver
Once again Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel has launched bat turds into the turbines in an anti-LGBT temper tantrum. Staver cannot live with the fact that Jacksonville is opposed to LGBT discrimination. On Wednesday Liberty Counsel, on behalf of a nominal plaintiff, sued the City of Jacksonville, Florida for alleged violations of Florida law in enacting its revised Human Rights Ordinance.

My explanation does not confirm that I am conversant in Staver's dialect of drivel. Nevertheless, the Jacksonville ordinance references and modifies sections of the city code. For example:
Section 2. Amending Sections 60.105, 400.101, 400.301, 402.102, 402.107(g)(1), 402.107(g)(3), 402.201, 402.202, 402.203, 402.204, 402.206, 402.210, 402.211, 406.102, 406.104(g)(1), 406.104(g)(3), 406.201, 408.102, 408.204, 408.401, 408.402, 408.403, 408.404, 408.406, and 408.407, Ordinance Code.
The foregoing sections of the Ordinance Code are hereby amended as follows: wherever protected categories are listed, that sexual orientation and gender identity, as defined in Section 3 below, shall be added to the list.
Staver alleges that Florida law requires those sections to be published as revised in the ordinance. Staver cites a portion of Florida law regarding municipal ordinances:
166.041 Procedures for adoption of ordinances and resolutions.

(2) . . . . No ordinance shall be revised or amended by reference to its title only. Ordinances to revise or amend shall set out in full the revised or amended act or section or subsection or paragraph of a section or subsection.
In other words, according to Staver, the same paragraph would have to essentially be repeated (changing only the section number) 26 times for the law to be valid. For example (the underlined portion is the addition):
Sec. 400.101. - Statement of policy.

(a)Employment. The Council hereby declares it to be the policy of the City that personnel shall be employed, compensated, promoted, transferred, or disciplined without regard to race, color, religion, political affiliation, gender, national origin, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or any circumstances other than merit and qualification.
[…]
Sec. 400.301. - Nature of complaints.

A complaint may be filed by an employee/candidate/applicant alleging discrimination based on race, color, religion, political affiliation, gender, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. Discrimination is defined as the loss of job. status, benefits or opportunities, or the creation or existence of a hostile work environment for reasons that are made unlawful by local, state, or federal law.
And so on, essentially accomplishing nothing. That's not how I read the Florida law but even if Staver is correct, the approved ordinance would simply be amended and passed into law again. Either way, Jacksonville is going to have a nondiscrimination ordinance that includes sexual orientation and gender identity protections. Mr. Staver is just going to have to stew in his Christianist juices.

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