Press Conference of Jacksonville Pastors and Liberty Counsel on LGBT Ordinance

Feb 4, 2016

JACKSONVILLE, FL – Today leading pastors in Jacksonville are hosting a press conference regarding the concerns of the religious community about the dangerous consequences of two proposed LGBT “nondiscrimination” city ordinances. The press conference, at 2:30 p.m. ET today at the First Baptist Church, Preschool Building Lobby, First Floor, 124 West Ashley Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202, will also be joined by Liberty Counsel's Senior Litigation Counsel, Roger Gannam, to answer any reporters' questions, time permitting.

The Jacksonville City Council is considering two LGBT proposals: The first is for the Council to vote on adding sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to the city's current nondiscrimination policy. The second proposal would be have the same law presented to the voters of Jacksonville for an up or down vote. Both would grant enormous power to the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission to investigate complaints against law-abiding citizens of Jacksonville, subpoena their documents, impose fines and attorney's fees, sue them in court, and refer their cases for criminal prosecution. Any church that welcomes a "non-member" could lose its religious exemption; organizations with a religious mission to feed the homeless or arrange adoptions are exposed to liability for professing their beliefs; the law would redefine "male" and "female" for all nurseries and preschools, even many church schools; and any man claiming a female "identity" will gain unchallenged access to women-only bathrooms and dressing rooms.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has held three public community meetings to discuss the ordinances, after which his opinion is that the LGBT ordinances are not needed, publicly announcing, "I do not believe any further legislation would be prudent." Now the City Council is holding three of its own community meetings:  tonight, February 18, and March 3, 2016.

"No council member has the right to make law-abiding citizens and religious institutions vulnerable to the depth of religious persecution that is established by this law," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "Nationwide, cake bakers, photographers, and florists have already lost their religious freedoms, and some were forced to close their businesses at the behest of the LGBT lobby. Jacksonville does not need to welcome this radical social experiment onto the shoulders of local business owners and taxpayers."

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.