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Delray Beach Approves Civil Rights Ordinance To Protect LGBT Community

July 8, 2015 — Delray Beach is the latest Palm Beach County city to enact a non-discrimination ordinance protecting its LGBT community. 

The City Commission unanimously approved the civil rights ordinance Tuesday, according to the Broward-Palm Beach New Times. The ordinance protects citizens from discrimination on the basis of “race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, genetic information, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, pregnancy, familial status, or age.” 

Without an inclusive civil rights ordinance, members of the LGBT community can be fired or even denied housing on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, activists say.

Tuesday's vote was the second and final reading of the ordinance. The City Commission gave its initial approval of the civil rights ordinance (also unanimously) at a commission meeting on June 16.

The ordinance was proposed by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), a nonprofit dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Delray Beach now joins Boynton Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth, West Palm and 13 other municipalities in Florida with similar ordinances, according to the PBCHRC.

Palm Beach County already has a non-discrimination ordinance that includes gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Florida, on the other hand, has no statewide ordinance addressing employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Activists are looking to change that.

"While the nation is rapidly moving forward on recognizing lesbian and gay relationships, Florida still lacks any statewide laws providing equal protection to LGBT Floridians," Rand Hoch, president of the PBCRC, said in a blog post.  "Therefore, until Congress or the Florida legislature take action, local LGBT advocacy rights organizations such as PBCHRC must continue to work with county and municipal leaders to protect our community from discrimination."