Transgender bathroom bill withdrawn in Florida
JACKSONVILLE, FL, February 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A proposed transgender "bathroom bill" and another ordinance granting homosexuals the same civil rights protection as racial and sexual minorities were withdrawn on Thursday night.
On paper, the two measures would have added "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the city's non-discrimination ordinance. But their effects would have been far-reaching, allowing biological males who identify as "female" to use the restrooms, showers, and changing areas of the opposite biological sex.
Granting protected minority status to two new groups of people would allow for a host of new complaints to the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission, which could then impose penalties if someone who is homosexual or transgender alleged discrimination.
The withdrawal comes the same week that a biological male began changing in front of a girls swim team in a Seattle pool's locker room, saying, "The law has changed, and I have a right to be here."
Former mayor Tommy Hazouri, who now serves on city council, withdrew the bill, acknowledging it would not pass.
Jacksonville residents "are not ready to move forward on this issue," he said, so the city remains "stuck in the past, frozen in time, when it comes to human rights."
"The withdrawal of the Jacksonville bills represents another victory for families and religious liberty, both of which are under an unrelenting attack by the national LGBT machine," said Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a nationwide, pro-family legal organization.
Last year, Liberty Counsel Senior Litigation Counsel Roger Gannam spoke at multiple public meetings in the area, underscoring the threat to privacy and religious liberty embodied in both proposals. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry supported his arguments, and Gannam worked with area pastors to pressure city council members to vote against the ordinances.
"The law would have redefined 'male' and 'female' for all nurseries and preschools, even many church schools," the organization stated.
Staver said the momentary victory "shows that when pastors and other Christian people stand up and let their voices be heard, they can change the debate and win the battle, but the dangers of these LGBT laws are lurking in every community, so we must remain vigilant."
That's one area were he and Hazouri agree. “Be assured, this bill and this issue is coming back,” he said.