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Gainesville keeps LGBT discrimination protections

Jessica Geen March 25, 2009

LGBT campaigners in Gainesville, Florida, are celebrating after voters opted against stripping the city’s anti-discrimination provisions.

Fifty-eight per cent of residents voted against cancelling the anti-discrimination protections Gainesville extends to gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people in order to conform to the Florida Civil Rights Act.

Campaigners had said that repealing the anti-discrimination provisions would make it legal to for LGBT people to be fired from jobs, denied services or kicked out of accommodation purely on the basis of their sexuality or trans status.

Opponents say they had one reason to seek the amendment – a clause which allows trans men and women to use whichever public toilets they feel most comfortable with.

Craig Lowe, a city commissioner who led the group known as Equality is Gainesville’s Business to defeat the charter amendment, told PA: “Gainesville is a place that will not allow discrimination.”

He added the city had “shown itself to be a welcoming place.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which supported the Equality effort, offered its congratulations to the city.

Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said: “Protecting Gainesville’s anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is a significant achievement. I congratulate everyone who worked so hard to help bring about today’s victory.”

More: Americas, Employment

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