Vote NO to Bill #296

Please ONLY JACKSONVILLE, FL Residents sign this petition.

>> Bill is dangerous as it creates special protection for a specific group or class of people

>>Weakens Florida's Marriage Amendment

>>Removes the protections guaranteed by US Constitution as well as federal and state laws

>>Violates freedom of religion, and if implemented could also violate freedom of speech

>>Creates legal defense for pedophiles

>>Creates more lawsuits, regulations and penalties for individuals and businesses

>>Will negatively impact small and large businesses, landlords, daycares, schools and children and even institutions of higher education as well as public accomodations.








We, the citizens of Jacksonville are signing this petition stating our opposition to Bill #296. The reasons stated below explain why we do NOT want this bill to become law in our community.


1.  Voting NO on the Ordinance does not endorse discrimination
A “no” vote on the Ordinance endorses that most American of ideals—freedom. Nobody should be forced to violate their own conscience or beliefs. The Ordinance seeks only to elevate the agenda of a few over the freedoms of all. Jacksonville already treats its citizens with dignity and does not need the Ordinance.


2.  Creates New and Special Rights for Homosexuals
The new “discrimination” classifications of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” would be applied in the areas of employment, public accommodations, and housing. This ordinance in effect creates new and special rights for homosexuals by creating a new protected class and special legal classifications based upon "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or gender expression."


3.  There is no commonly accepted definition or meaning of “gender identity or expression”
No city should adopt phrases or meanings in the law that nobody can understand.


4.  The Ordinance defines “gender identity or expression” as “a gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”
This broad definition bases gender on a person’s psychological identification as male or female, which may or may not correspond to the person's body or designated sex at birth (meaning the sex originally listed on a person's birth certificate).


Some people claim a “gender identity or expression” based only on how they feel, while others claim a “gender identity or expression” because of hormones they may be taking, or a surgical procedure they had, making this definition purely subjective. Laws should not be passed on the basis of subjective definitions.


5.  The classifications of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” are different from those already found in the Jacksonville Ordinance Code
The existing anti-discrimination provisions of the Ordinance Code prohibit discrimination based on immutable characteristics (like race, color, or sex), or features that are clearly defined and objective (age, marital status, disability, or national origin), and freedom of religion (protected by the first clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution).


In contrast, the Ordinance creates the new “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” categories, which involve behavior, emotions, and self perceptions.


6.  Because these concepts are not clearly defined and oftentimes change, the laws that protect us should be clear and not given to change.


7.  Weakens Florida’s Marriage Amendment as the Union of One Man and One Woman:
The ordinance is like others around the country that have been used to undermine and overturn state marriage laws and state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Gay rights activists around the country have used the collective scheme of non discrimination laws like this one to legalize homosexual marriages in states like Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire and Washington DC. Although the Florida Marriage Amendment preserves marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the Ordinance would allow any woman to claim to be a man, as her “gender identity or expression,” and then seek to marry another woman (and vice versa). This potential perversion of the Marriage Amendment could result in costly legal battles for Jacksonville public officials subject to the Ordinance.


8.  Removes References to the U.S. Constitution:
The ordinance (unbelievably) removes most references to the “United States Constitution” in the city code and deletes -- language referring to “civil rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the federal and state laws enacted to enforce those protections”. The ordinance language thereby removes the rights, protections and limitations given to citizens by the highest law of the land.


9.  Creates Legal Defenses for Pedophiles:
The ordinance's gender identity and gender expression language would allow men to be able to use women’s bathrooms (and vice versa) in “public accommodations” based upon their subjective sense of whether they are a male or female allowing for male pedophiles to have a defense for using girl’s bathrooms. This shocking provision is being forced onto cities all around the country. The security and privacy of locker rooms, dressing rooms, bathrooms and other separate facilities are all compromised and places women and children in danger.


10.  Creates More Lawsuits, Regulations and Penalties for Individuals and Businesses:
The ordinance forces individual citizens and their businesses ----- in Jacksonville to be liable to be sued for money damages, and even subjected to fines and imprisonment, if they choose -- not to hire or accommodate homosexual, transgendered, bi-sexual or gender confused persons according to the ordinance's new subjective rights. Those who are offended by a business or by others regarding their perceived “sexual orientation” or “gender identity or expression” may easily file a formal legal complaint against that business or other entity. Most business owners started their own business so that they could do things their way and not have someone else tell them how to run their own business. Many business owners have sincere religious or moral beliefs about sexual behavior, relationships, and other matters, but the Ordinance grants no respect to those beliefs. Even though the ordinance exempts businesses having fewer than 15 employees from the stated hiring requirements, there are numerous small businesses having 15 or more employees, and no such exemption is available to these small businesses. Moreover, there is no exemption for small businesses, regardless of the number of employees, in the public accommodation and housing provisions of the Ordinance. Thus, any business owner, landlord, or other individual who holds traditional views about sexual behavior and gender would likely be severely limited in making decisions in accordance with those views.


11.  Violates Religious Freedoms
The ordinance forces Christians and other people of faith to violate their rights of conscience and good faith religious beliefs in business and employment situations. The Ordinance does nothing to preserve the constitutional religious freedoms of individuals and their businesses. While the Ordinance offers certain exemptions for distinctively religious organizations, such as churches and church-owned schools, the Ordinance disregards the sincere religious and moral beliefs of business owners and other individuals.


When other cities or states have enacted laws like this Ordinance, small business owners have been forced to provide services that violate their own beliefs, even when equally capable alternative service providers were offered to the customers. In many cases, the law is used in an effort to punish or target a business that does not want to violate their conscience or religious beliefs.


The Ordinance undermines the idea of the free market and may force many business owners to choose between their deeply held religious or moral beliefs and legal punishment. Faced with that grim choice, business owners may close down their business or relocate to another city with more business-friendly requirements.


12. The Ordinance will impact employees
In order to ensure compliance with the Ordinance, many businesses may feel compelled to adopt company-wide policies that strictly regulate what employees may say (which is a violation of freedom of speech), wear, place within their workspaces, or even celebrate at the office. Beyond these changes in internal policies, potential changes or reductions in employment benefits prompted by the Ordinance will also impact employees.


13.  The Ordinance will impact day care centers
Owners and operators of day care centers subject to the hiring requirements of the Ordinance, whether private or public, would lose control over who they may hire to protect and supervise the children entrusted to their care.


14.  The Ordinance will affect landlords
The extent of the Ordinance’s effect is not clear. For many landlords the Ordinance will eliminate the discretion that they currently possess in determining to whom they should lease their properties. It is likely that the public accommodation provisions of the Ordinance would be used against commercial landlords who, based on sincerely held religious beliefs, want to limit the types of businesses to which they lease their properties.


15.  The Ordinance will impact schools and children
The Ordinance treats public schools like any other business. Thus, schools would be required to employ, for example, a male kindergarten teacher whose “gender identity or expression” has him wearing makeup and female clothing. Students could also claim a “gender identity or expression” and use the restrooms or locker rooms of the opposite sex. And as more athletes are advocating that their “gender identity or expression” permits them to compete on teams or in leagues of the opposite sex, the potential impact upon Jacksonville’s school system is obvious. Under the guise of laws like the Ordinance, school districts across the country have implemented curriculums and policies that teach children, as young as kindergarten, about homosexual behavior, same-sex families, and that children may choose their own gender when they grow up.


16.  The Ordinance does not guarantee different restrooms for men and women
Because of its protections for “gender identity or expression” in the use of “facilities,” anyone who perceives that they are the opposite sex can lawfully enter the restroom of the opposite sex. This means that men who merely perceive themselves to be women can lawfully enter a women’s restroom, and the women (and girls) have no say over it. Moreover, it may be unlawful for (1) a merchant to maintain dressing rooms for different sexes, (2) a gym to maintain locker rooms for different sexes, or (3) a college or university to maintain dormitories for different sexes. However, even if separate dressing rooms, locker rooms, or dormitories were allowed, because of one’s “gender identity or expression,” no merchant, gym, or university could actually keep the sexes reasonably separated.

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