Friday, August 21, 2015

PBCHRC Launches "Palm Beach County: You're Welcome!" Campaign Celebration

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council formally launched our "Palm Beach County: You're Welcome" campaign in Palm Beach last Wednesday night.

Dozens of  PBCHRC supporters - including Palm Beach County Mayor Shelley Vana, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and Palm Beach County's Constitutional Tax Collector Anne Gannon - attended  the celebration at Meat Market Palm Beach.  The event was produced  by Altima Palm Beach, a local public relations firm that donated its services to PBCHRC.

The campaign serves to encourage local municipalities to enact LGBT-inclusive civil rights laws to not only educate local residents and business owners of their civil rights and responsibilities, but also to help attract more jobs, revenue and resources to Palm Beach County.

In making relocation and expansion decisions, more and more businesses are investigating how municipalities protect their LGBT residents

Last month, Facebook announced a $1 billion investment in a data center in Fort Worth, Texas.  The project is expected to generate $21 million in taxes for the city over the next 10 years.  Before committing to Fort Worth, Facebook reviewed the civil rights ordinances of all of the potential locations for the data center specifically to see if there were LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinances.  Fort Worth's  civil rights ordinance had been on the books for 15 years.

At the start of this year, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth and Palm Beach County were the only local governments with LGBT-inclusive civil rights laws.  Thanks to PBCHRC's efforts, additional civil rights ordinances have since been enacted this year in Boynton Beach, Greenacres and Delray Beach.

Last Tuesday evening, the Wellington Village Council also voted to direct the Village Attorney to draft an LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance prior to the end of the Village's fiscal year in October.  Four of the five Council Members spoke out in favor of the ordinance.

In Haverhill, the Town Council recently held a workshop on a similar civil rights ordinance.  Council Member Lawrence Gordon is working with the Town Attorney on the specific language, and the ordinance is expected to come before the Town Council in late August.

Lake Clarke Shores Vice Mayor Gregory Freebold, who attended the celebration in Palm Beach, has taken the lead in having his town enact a LGBT-inclusive civil rights.   Freebold is working closely with PBCHRC Board Member Hutch Floyd, a town resident.  The Town Council is expected to vote on the ordinance within the next several weeks.

Working together with elected officials, PBCHRC has changed the face of Palm Beach County for the better.  However, while marriage equality is now the law of the land in all 50 states, there is no federal or state law that protects LGBT Floridians from discrimination.

"Thanks to the local civil rights laws and policies we have enacted, Palm Beach County is one of the best places in the world for LGBT people to live, study, work, raise families and retire," Palm Beach County Mayor Shelley Vana told PBCHRC supporters.

PBCHRC  will continue our work locally so that we can help secure equal rights and benefits for LGBT people.

There will be a PBCHRC Happy Hour for supporters on the evening of Tuesday, September 22nd at Wine Scene, 501 Fern Street in West Palm Beach.  Details will be sent soon.

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