At the end of a five year battle, the city council of Jacksonville, Florida, has finally passed LGBT protections by a vote of 12-6.
Mayor Lenny Curry announced he would allow the law to go into effect without his signature.
The legislation, which bans discrimination against gay and transgender folks, faced a few obstacles on the way to the historic vote.
One councilman, Bill Gulliford, attempted to block or water down the legislation by proposing a citywide vote on the issue, and then tried to strip transgender protections out.
Councilman Danny Becton proposed exempting any privately owned business from the law.
All three amendments were voted down.
Jacksonville is the most populous city in the state of Florida, and the 12th most populous in the country.
Equality Florida issued this statement:
Yesterday, after years of hard work and courageous advocacy from the local LGBTQ residents, businesses owners, faith voices and community leaders, the Jacksonville City Council has voted to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression by a 12 to 6 vote.
This update modernizes the existing city ordinance which previously banned discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations (such as restaurants and stores) based solely on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status or familial status.
“After years of hard work and courageous advocacy, Jacksonville has sent a clear message to Florida and the entire country that discrimination of any kind is wrong and that LGBTQ people are welcomed and accepted,” said Amber Paoloemilio, Field Director of Equality Florida.
Over the last five years, because of the personal stories from LGBTQ people, business owners, and faith leaders, Jacksonville public opinion has transformed. Based on a 2015 poll conducted by the University of North Florida, over 62% of voters support this important update to the Human Rights Ordinance.