Sarasota News Leader

04/25/2014

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The Sarasota County Commission this week chose not to pursue a new ordinance that would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing and employment, quietly ending a review period that began last fall. While federal and state laws protect many A m e r i c a n s f r o m discrimination, dis- crimination based on s e x u a l o r i e n t a t i o n remains an uncovered category. Therefore in Florida, gays and lesbians, for exam- ple, can still be fired for their sexual orientation or a landlord can legally decline to rent to them. That reality has prompted dozens of Florida counties and municipalities to pass so-called "human rights ordinances," which generally protect their citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The cities of Sarasota and Venice have both passed such regula- tions, and the county took steps last fall to begin researching the possibility of passing its own rule. County Commissioner Carolyn Mason listens to discussion about the domestic partnership registry last fall. Photo by Norman Schimmel SARASOTA COUNTY DECLINES TO PURSUE ORDINANCE BANNING ANTI-GAY DISCRIMINATION SHOT DOWN The state is not going to step up, so we do need counties and cities to all step up and do something about this. Julia Nowak LGBT Rights Activist Englewood By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor

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