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Activists seeking referendum on Atlantic Beach human rights ordinance

Posted: August 31, 2014 - 10:18pm  |  Updated: August 31, 2014 - 11:38pm
Atlantic Beach resident Ann O'Hara stands along Seminole Road in Atlantic Beach in an effort to get signatures for a referendum on the recently passed human rights ordinance in the beach community.
Bob.Self@jacksonville.com
Atlantic Beach resident Ann O'Hara stands along Seminole Road in Atlantic Beach in an effort to get signatures for a referendum on the recently passed human rights ordinance in the beach community.
Signs line the sidewalk along a section of Seminole Road in Atlantic Beach on Sunday as efforts were underway to get signatures for a referendum on the recently passed human rights ordinance in the beach community.   Bob.Self@jacksonville.com
Bob.Self@jacksonville.com
Signs line the sidewalk along a section of Seminole Road in Atlantic Beach on Sunday as efforts were underway to get signatures for a referendum on the recently passed human rights ordinance in the beach community.

Critics of the Atlantic Beach City Commission’s decision to pass an ordinance banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are spending Labor Day collecting voter signatures seeking a referendum.

“We believe because of the magnitude of this issue, that the citizens, the taxpayers should have a say,” said Don Peters, part of a five-person committee set up to seek the vote during the city’s next elections in 2015.

To get on the ballot, Peters said the group must deliver 2,305 signatures — one-quarter of the city’s registered voters last year — to the city clerk by Tuesday. He wasn’t sure how many had been collected by Sunday.

A public vote against the ordinance would reverse the commission’s Aug. 11 decision, which followed extensive advocacy by people and groups on both sides.

The petition’s supporters include Duval County Republican Chairman Rick Hartley, whose name and phone number appeared with Peters’ in an email asking volunteers to join in collecting signatures.

Hartley said he acted as an individual, not as a party official, but it sparked discussion in social media over the weekend.

“Duval GOP wants to stop the Atlantic Bch HRO. If you believe in equality, please share, help expose their bigotry!” a one-time Jacksonville City Council candidate, Tracy Rigdon, posted on his Twitter account.

Hartley said he had been careful not to invoke the party name.

“There is nothing on it that says GOP. … It is strictly me,” Hartley said of the email, but made no apologies for backing the effort.

“I feel like this is a very controversial subject that needs to be on the ballot,” Hartley said. “If it comes to Jacksonville, I would propose that it be on the ballot in Jacksonville.”

Jacksonville’s City Council rejected an anti-discrimination measure, commonly called the Human Rights Ordinance, in 2012.

But several candidates for Jacksonville’s council elections next year have said they want an ordinance enacted, and the Atlantic Beach measure had attracted supporters and opponents from beyond the Beaches.

“I know there are other Republicans who are supporting it,” said Jesse Wilson, a Republican candidate for an at-large seat on Jacksonville’s council, who spoke at the Atlantic Beach commission in favor of the ordinance.

“Hopefully it’s something we can get in Jacksonville. … It makes sense in so many ways,” Wilson said. He said he hadn’t thought through the best mechanism to adopt the ordinance in Jacksonville, and would talk with Hartley about the subject.

Volunteers in Atlantic Beach went door-to-door Sunday seeking signatures, while others set up roadside tables. Peters said signatures had been collected from Democrats, Republicans and other political partisans, and from people from a wide range of ages and economic backgrounds.

 

Steve Patterson: (904) 359-4263

Comments (12)

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traincompbox
1094
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traincompbox 09/01/14 - 11:38 pm
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@ Steve Patterson Thanks very

@ Steve Patterson

Thanks very much for presenting your line of thought. Based on past articles and editorial policy (or lack of), my thought line was that of rabble rousing. Knowing this, I owe and offer you an apology for my earlier comment.

@Mikeatthebeaches

I too, will agree with your numbers, but I would still not agree to grant a legal standing. It only provides a legitimacy to the behavior. A behavior which is in conflict with whatever or whomever caused life to be on this planet. It is obvious the two genders are present for the purpose of procreation/propagation of the species. Any additional or different actions are purely recreational. Should we legislate this recreational activity, how far down the line would the legislation of sports be?

olgator
2477
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olgator 09/01/14 - 10:35 pm
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Premium Member
So if someone tells most

So if someone tells most posters here to stop discriminating against someone because of the way they were born, that is so difficult for most posters here to do that it constitutes bending over backwards for them. Fortunately surveys show the younger generation overwhelmingly finds it easy to not discriminate against someone because of the way they were born. So olden thinking like this is going away.

Telling you you can't fire someone because you think they are gay is ramming something down your throat? The fact so many people here don't want to lose the ability to discriminate suggests we do need to protect these folks from being treated like second class citizens in their own country.

Steve Patterson
258
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Steve Patterson 09/01/14 - 10:26 pm
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Premium Member
There have been a couple of

There have been a couple of comments about use of the word “activist” in the headline. Since I wrote this headline, I’ll explain my thinking.
The dictionary.com definition of an activist is “an especially active, vigorous advocate for a cause, especially a political one.”
The people in this story are working, on a short deadline, to convince one-fourth of the registered voters in their town to sign their petition, and they’re knocking on doors and talking to strangers to get to their goal. Don Peters, one of the organizers of this effort, said Sunday he was raised to believe that when you support something, you speak up for it (express yourself); you stand up for it (be visible); you show up for it (attend meetings); and you sign up for it (as in the petition).
Peters said that’s what he’s doing about this petition because he believes the ordinance impact people enough that the public should decide it, not just the city commission.
His support, and the support of other people who spent the weekend collecting signatures, sounded pretty active to me.

Max mutt
9276
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Max mutt 09/01/14 - 09:13 pm
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This is a tough one. The HRO

This is a tough one.
The HRO was a stupid piece of "legislation" dealing with a non-existent problem and creating a lawsuit boon to scum sucking opportunist lawyers.
But once it was passed by idiot legislators it is hard to take it back.
The effort to vote on it will backfire in the arena of public opinion.

I would prefer to simply ignore it was passed as the rest of the world is going to do.
Best of luck but I sense this effort will look bad.

Accurate percentages , Mike.

MikeatBeaches
4264
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MikeatBeaches 09/01/14 - 07:59 pm
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Premium Member
First off the person who

First off the person who titled this story needs to understand what an Activist is... An Activist is a person who campaigns for some kind of social change. Why should 97.4% of the people have to bend over backwards(no pun intended) so that the 2.6% are happy? I could care less what these people do behind closed doors just DON'T try to shove it down my throat!

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