Florida’s Hillsborough County Commission voted Wednesday to extend its Human Rights Ordinance to protect LGBT citizens
The ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, real estate transactions and county contracting and procurement.
The unanimous 7-0 vote reverses a 1995 decision that removed gay people from the county’s protection ordinance.
Several speakers at the commission meeting opposed extending protections to LGBT citizens. One speaker referred to homosexality as a “disfunction” and suggested that to extend protections would lead to special rights for pedophiles.
The vote was a victory for Kevin Beckner, the county's first out gay commissioner, who had assembled a business coalition in support of the amended ordinance, making it easier for some of the more-conservative commissioners to vote yes.
Members of the coalition argued that a more inclusive and diverse community is also more prosperous and attractive to highly trained workers.
Terry Wolfe, a resident who spoke in favor of the ordinance, said that the vote “goes a long way toward creating a climate of equality” in the county.
Watch a report on the leadup to the vote, AFTER THE JUMP…