Sarasota News Leader

07/04/2014

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The Sarasota County Commission may have halted any progress toward a countywide ordinance to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination, but the activist who first pro- posed the measure isn't about to give up, threatening to take her case to the voters if the commission declines to act. Englewood realtor Julia Nowak has repeat- edly pushed the commission to approve what's known as a human rights ordinance, which would ban discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation. Both the Cities of Sarasota and Venice have such rules on the books, but the county has yet to embrace the concept. While County Attorney Steve DeMarsh was asked to research the matter, the commission decided to do nothing when presented with his infor- mation in April. That hasn't prevented Nowak from continuing to agitate for the cause. Appearing before the commission two weeks ago, she announced she had collected more than 500 signatures in a petition drive and warned the board that if it won't act, she'll pursue the possibility of putting the issue on a future county ballot. "The people will vote for it," she said, warn- ing those opposed to the idea: "It is not going to make everybody look good." Photo by Benson Kua, via Fotopedia 'I'M NOT GIVING UP ON THIS' LGBT ACTIVIST WARNS SARASOTA COUNTY SHE'LL TAKE HER ANTI- DISCRIMINATION CAUSE TO THE VOTERS By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor

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