Huge crowd tackles human rights ordinance in Atlantic Beach

Release Date


ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. -- Roughly 200 people in a cramped meeting space in Atlantic Beach tackled several hot button topics in the city Monday night, including a Human Rights ordinance, created by commissioner Maria Mark. 

One by one, people shuffled out of the crowded hallway or squeezed by rows filled with concerned residents. They approached the podium and microphone to talk about a lack of anti-discrimination laws. 

The ordinance appeared to have garnered a lot of support. But there were a couple of people who spoke out against it.

"This is really a push, a planned organized effort to further a gay agenda of ultimately gay marriage and other such gay rights for the LGBT community," said Raymond Johnson.

The ordinance would protect against discrimination based on things such as age, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sex, or gender identity. It would add to protections in the workplace and public accommodations.

"People should be protected regardless of who they are or who they love, said Judy Sheklin. "And I believe it's important to add to the protections we have. We don't have that in the city of Jacksonville and I believe Atlantic Beach is a good place to begin."

A similar ordinance several months ago caused a stir in Jacksonville and was shot down.

Monday night's workshop was organized to determine if there is enough interest in a human rights measure to move forward on drafting legislation. 

The next commission meeting is scheduled for December 9th.

Watch the video by clicking here.

In the News