• Osceola County commissioners pass anti-discrimination ordinance


    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Osceola County commissioners unanimously passed a human rights ordinance Monday night to protect all citizens in the county.
    The vote follows the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage. Since that decision, advocates have been fighting for protection against discrimination.
    Gay rights activists wanted the ordinance to provide equal protection in Osceola County, but religious leaders said they are fearful it will trample on their religious rights.
    When all five county commissioners agreed to pass the ordinance that bans discrimination in Osceola county supporters erupted in applause.
    The ordinance prohibits someone from denying a person employment, housing or public accommodation based on their sexual orientation, age, race, religion and other factors.
    Churches must now follow the ordinance. But many religious leaders remained steadfast in their attempt to reject the ordinance.

    "It really is a trampling on religious freedom," pastor James Brooks of the Kissimmee Christain Church said.
    Some felt they should be able to deny a gay person the right to work in a church due to religious convictions.

    "The reality is, (in) America, under the Constitution, you have the right to exercise your religious freedom," Brooks said.
    Several dozen people spoke before the commission voted.
    One man who continued to speak past his three-minute limit was told by deputies to leave the podium.
    The ordinance puts Osceola County in a category with 32 other counties and cities in Florida that have similar rules and regulations on the books.
    "It's another step for full equality for LGBT people in Florida," Gina Duncan of Equality Florida said.

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