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A new memo from the Sarasota County Attorney's Office suggests that federal regula- tions protect gays and lesbians from housing discrimination. Not true, says one local attorney who special- izes in employment discrimination law. County Attorney Steve DeMarsh sent the new memo to the County Commission on April 7; it's an update to a memo he sent to the board in March detailing his office's research into how the county might implement a so-called "human rights ordi- nance." Such laws, w h i c h h a v e b e e n approved in several Florida municipalities, including the City of Sarasota, protect gays a n d l e s b i a n s f r o m being discriminated against in housing and employment. Advocates of a Sarasota County human rights ordinance still are awaiting County Commission action. Photo by Benson Kua, via Fotopedia DO FEDERAL RULES REALLY PREVENT ANTI-GAY HOUSING DISCRIMINATION IN SARASOTA COUNTY? DISCRIMINATION CONVERSATION The point of having a county ordinance is to make sure people are protected, not to leave it [to] chance (on the possibility that some court in the future may go against all the prior case law to decide that sexual orientation discrimination is 'sex' discrimination after all). Kendra Presswood Attorney Shankman Leone Tampa By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor

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