The Delray Beach City Commission unanimously voted on Tuesday to enact an LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, genetic information, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, pregnancy, familial status, or age. The vote came as a culmination of work by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, which has successfully proposed similar ordinances throughout the state.
The PBCHRC has said it would continue to fight against discrimination against the LGBT community, recognizing that there is still much more to do, even with the United States Supreme Court's ruling making same-sex marriage legal last week.
"While marriage equality is now the law of the land across America, the state of Florida lacks statewide laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing, and public accommodations," said PBCHRC. "Therefore, until Congress or the Florida Legislature takes action, local LGBT advocacy rights organizations such as PBCHRC must continue to work with county and municipal leaders to protect our community from discrimination."
On Tuesday, Delray Beach becomes the fifth Palm Beach County to city to enact such an ordinance, joining Boynton Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach.
Fifty-seven counties and 394 municipalities across Florida have yet to move forward with prohibiting discrimination against the LGBT community, Hoch tells New Times. "Clearly much work needs to be done," he says.
Part of the issue is that many think the LGBT community is covered in civil rights laws.
"Congress has refused to pass a bill since 1974, and Florida has failed to do so since 2007," Hoch says. "So all the work needs to be done on the local level — and it still isn't being done in so many parts of the state."
Hoch has been diligent in trying to get ordinances passed throughout the state, even while at times meeting with some form of resistance or another. In March, for example, Boynton Beach staffers confused the civil rights ordinance with an Equal Benefits Ordinance, which became an issue because the civil rights ordinance doesn't call for businesses to provide benefits.
The PBCHRC is currently working to persuade elected officials in Lake Clark Shores, Palm Beach Gardens, and Wellington to enact similar ordinances.
Both the first reading and final hearing passing unanimously in Delray.
"Delray Beach is a first-class city with a diverse community," Mayor Cary Glickstein said in a statement. "This ordinance lets people know that Delray Beach is open for business for everyone and that we oppose prejudice and discrimination of all kinds."