A Florida appeals court has ditched vital LGBT+ discrimination protections in the middle of a global pandemic.
Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals struck down the law, which protected LGBT+ people’s right to public accommodation, employment and housing, in a ruling last Friday (May 1).
Plaintiffs in the case argued that the LGBT+ protections, which were introduced in Duval County in 2017, should be considered “null and void” because they violated state laws, Florida Politics reports.
The three-judge panel scrapped the protections because they said the measure was not written in its entirety when it was voted on.
They said Jacksonville City Council’s failure to submit a full version of the measures violated “governing principles of notice and due process.”
‘Hyper-technical ruling’ branded ‘mindboggling’ by Florida lawyer.
The plaintiffs in the case were led by the socially conservative Liberty Counsel, which argued that changes were not properly laid out before the vote took place.
Jacksonville’s head lawyer Jason Gabriel lashed out at the ruling, calling it “mindboggling” and “bizarre”.
“It’s a hyper-technical ruling with some bizarre findings,” he told Florida Politics.
He claimed that the city “appropriately published” the discrimination protections at the time and insisted that they did not “drop the ball in any way”.
It’s a hyper-technical ruling with some bizarre findings.
“Rules have been on the books for enforcement in their entirety since the law was passed in early 2017,” Gabriel said.
“For anyone to think the city dropped some part of this (and didn’t fix it for that matter) in the subsequent three years since its passage is mindboggling to me.”
He contradicted the court’s ruling, claiming the full text was “immediately officially published after enactment”.
Conservatives are celebrating the court’s decision.
Roger Gannam, assistant vice president of legal affairs with Liberty Counsel, celebrated the appeal court’s decision to scrap the LGBT+ protections.
“This decision exposes the deception of the HRO authors and sponsors and rejects the city’s attempt to cover it up with its own deception in the form of clever procedural maneuvers in the city council,” he said in a statement.
“A city ordinance that cannot be passed openly and honestly is good for no one.”
He said people in Jacksonville should “not be forced to participate” in the “celebration” of same-sex relationships, and also lashed out at trans people’s right to use the bathroom of their choice.
It is not clear what will happen next, but the city council may yet decide to renew its goal and pass LGBT+ protections for a second time.