Hillsborough will add LGBT protections to human rights ordinance

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Hillsborough County is now on track to add protections for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

In a 7-0 vote Wednesday morning, commissioners asked county legal staff to update Hillsborough’s human rights ordinance with legal protections to prevent LGBT discrimination for things like employment and housing.

It was introduced by the county’s first openly gay commissioner, Kevin Beckner.

Fewer than ten members of the public spoke out against the additional protections, while more than a dozen, like Gina Duncan, urged commissioners to support the changes. She is the transgender inclusion director with Equality Florida and we’ll hear from her in a moment.

But first, this is Rev. Paul Waldmiller, who spoke out against changes to the county’s human rights ordinance.

Having additional protections for LGBT community members will help businesses, according to Gary Sasso, president and CEO of the Carlton Fields law firm.

County lawyers will write possible changes to the human rights ordinance adding protections for LGBT people and the county’s Human Relations Board will have input before final approval.

A year ago the County Commission repealed a policy that had prohibited the board from participating in or promoting gay pride events. That ban had been in place since it was introduced in 2005 by former commissioner Ronda Storms.