Jacksonville man claims he was fired for being gay, supports human rights bill | News

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Jacksonville man claims he was fired for being gay, supports human rights bill

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  A First Coast man says a controversial bill may have prevented him from being fired for being gay.

The bill, up for public comment Tuesday in the Jacksonville City Council meeting, is officially called the Human Rights Ordinance #296. It is looking to ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals in regards to employment and looking for housing.

"All we're doing is wanting the same basic rights so that we can work, live and play in Jacksonville just the same as what everybody does."

This is David Vandygriff's second visit to Jacksonville City Council, to hear comments on the human rights ordinance that would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay bisexual or transgender individuals when it comes to housing or employment.

Vandygriff said he was fired from a local medical supply company because he was gay.

"I was told at that time, the surgeons told my company they did not want to work with the gay sales rep," Vandygriff said.

Vandygriff said legal action wasn't an option.

"There's no legal action here because there's no laws that protect an employer from doing that," Vandygriff said.

He now owns two small businesses in Jacksonville, and said the bill would protect employees of all sexual orientations, not just the LGBT community.

"I can legally fire somebody because they are heterosexual and they cannot sue me because of that," Vandygriff said. "This ordinance doesn't only protect LGBT. This protects the straight community as well."

Vandygriff said he isn't asking others to agree with his lifestyle; just to grant him basic civil rights.

"You're still a human being, you're still a citizen of the United States and you should have protections just like what I have had all my life," he said.


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