With the City Council set to vote Tuesday on legislation that would expand the city’s Human Rights Ordinance, it’s a good time to review what council members said when they were running for office in 2015.


Questionnaires sent to candidates by the Times-Union editorial page included this: “Do you think gays should be included among the groups covered in the city’s Human Rights Ordinance?”

Three current council members — Danny Becton, Bill Gulliford and Lori Boyer — didn’t get the questionnaires because they didn’t face opposition.

The remaining 16 council members responded. Here are their answers:

Katrina Brown: “Yes. I believe no person or group should be excluded or discriminated and all citizens shall be protective class.”

Reggie Gaffney: “I believe in equality for everyone. The Florida judicial system is currently addressing this issue and I will abide by the law.”

Doyle Carter: “No.”

Jim Love: “Yes, I do. It is the right thing to do both morally and economically. I don’t believe any business leader (Tim Cook of Apple for instance) in the LGBT community will move a business to Jacksonville until we have this Human Rights Ordinance in place.”

John Crescimbeni: “I do not tolerate discrimination, regardless of its intended targets. In 2012, although I did not support legislation introduced (on this subject) as it was written, I did support a proposed substitute.

“The proposed substitute modified the original bill by restoring all references to the U.S. Constitution, struck entirely any reference to ‘sexual identity’ or ‘sexual expression’ throughout the ordinance, exempted religious organizations from the provisions therein and limited the extent to which a claim could be pursued before the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission.”

Tommy Hazouri: “Yes.”

Greg Anderson: “I believe that Jacksonville should be a community that encourages fair treatment and equal opportunity for all persons. HRO should reflect this aspiration while also protecting our businesses, community and religious organizations.”

Sam Newby: “As a conservative who believes strongly in upholding our Constitution, I am an advocate for endorsing it and protecting our civil liberties. Under my leadership, there will be zero tolerance for discrimination.”

Reggie Brown: “I believe no person or group should be excluded or discriminated against and all citizens shall be a protected class.”

Anna Lopez Brosche: “No one should be a victim of any form of discrimination and all citizens should receive fair and equal treatment, and our laws should extend such protections. As a member of the City Council, I will always have an open door policy and will listen to concerns from small businesses and religious institutions if, in fact, legitimate legal issues arise from any proposed city ordinance.”

Joyce Morgan: “Every citizen should be afforded the same rights under the law.”

Scott Wilson: “I don’t believe anyone should be discriminated against for any reason. Jacksonville is a unique city, there should be a unique way to address this issue.”

Garrett Dennis: “I am against discrimination on any human being. Jacksonville needs to take a stand on discrimination NOW.”

Al Ferraro: “I think all people are created equal and should have equal opportunities and rights.”

Aaron Bowman: “Yes.”

Matt Schellenberg: “I believe that everyone, despite ethnicity or religious background should be able to live their lives, and practice their beliefs, without discrimination from others.

“I do not, however, believe that government should single out a small portion of the populations for special protections, including criminal punishments for offenders, especially as I have yet to see the proof that wide-ranging discrimination against the LGBT community exists.

“We are all one people, and putting each group in a different box only works to further divide us and provide a basis for unnecessary litigation. A bill that includes every single person in the city would have my vote.”

It’s clear from the answers that most of the council members who responded to the questionnaires say they are against discrimination in any form.

If they meant what they said when they campaigned, then they should vote to expand the HRO because, bottom line, what the opponents are arguing for is the right to discriminate against the LGBT community.


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