County Council: Civil rights apply to all in Volusia

May 23, 2011

County Council: Civil rights apply to all in Volusia

 

By Pat Andrews
BEACON STAFF WRITER

posted May 23, 2011 - 8:56:17am

 

Now, gay, lesbian, transgender and transsexual people have the same civil rights as anyone else in Volusia County, in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations.

The County Council passed an ordinance providing those rights, and giving victims of discrimination the ability to sue, and get actual damages, including back pay, as well as punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.

Clubs that are strictly private and religious institutions are exempt from the new law’s provisions, which go into effect July 1.

Chairman Larry Glinzman of Volusia Equality, a group that pushed for the law’s enactment, urged the County Council to “do the right thing” in passing the ordinance.

He was followed by others with the same request.

 

Joe Saunders of Equality Florida said such protections by local governments have become the norm, and Volusia would join Leon and Orange counties and the City of Gainesville in enacting protection for people, whatever their gender identity or orientation.

Chair of the Volusia-Flagler Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union George Griffin and his wife, Marilyn, also spoke in favor of the ordinance. George Griffin said, “This is a great day in Volusia County.”

Marilyn Griffin noted she has worked in Volusia County Schools, where the School Board already has a similar policy in place.

She said some of the kids had suffered because of sexual orientation, and the law would help them face the future, and expect a good life, here in Volusia County.

Lewis Long of Lake Helen, a retired Air Force chaplain, said the Bible can’t be used to justify discrimination.

Steve Oxier of Seville said, “I ask you to vote on the right side of history today.”

Around a dozen people spoke in favor of the ordinance, and close to 40 people sat in the audience, dressed in red shirts to show their support for the ordinance.

No one spoke against the ordinance, though one person sent a letter of opposition to the council.

Council Member Carl Persis made the motion to approve, thanking Council Member Josh Wagner for bringing the matter forward.

When they discovered the ordinance would require one reading and not two, Persis withdrew his motion so that Wagner could make the motion.

It passed 6-1, with Council Member Joie Alexander opposed, saying she sees no need for the ordinance.

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BEACON PHOTO/PAT ANDREWS 
Handshake — Larry Glinzman, right, shakes the hand of County Council Member Josh Wagner, as Joe Saunders of Equality Florida looks on, after the council’s 6-1 vote to approve the civil-rights ordinance extending civil-rights protections to gays, lesbians and others, regardless of sexual orientation or identity. Wagner brought the issue to the County Council’s attention.

 

News image

BEACON PHOTO/PAT ANDREWS 
Red sea — During the May 19 County Council meeting, Lewis Long of Lake Helen, a retired Air Force chaplain, and Kevin Winchell of DeLand, show their red in support of an ordinance extending civil-rights protection to all in Volusia County, regardless of sexual orientation or identity

 

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