A successful petition drive by a Gainesville, Florida civic group will place a Charter Amendment on the March 2009 ballot to revoke a Gainesville City Council decision legalizing the use of opposite-sex bathrooms by men who perceive themselves as women and vice versa.
“Citizens for Good Public Policy,” a coalition of business, religious, and community leaders, held a press conference last week to announce that 6,343 petition signatures were validated by the Supervisor of Elections. More registered Gainesville voters reportedly signed the petitions than voted for the city mayor in the most recent election.
Cain Davis, Executive Director of Citizens For Good Public Policy, commented on the successful petition drive, saying: “The citizens of Gainesville are encouraged about having the opportunity to vote on this issue, which will ensure their laws accurately reflect their beliefs and values.”
The Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center, which has acted as legal counsel for the coalition and helped draft the charter amendment, said in a press release that the amendment will prevent the addition of “a multitude of bizarre special rights categories that are being pushed by radical groups with a national agenda.”
According to the Center, the amendment would invalidate the protections provided to the new “gender identity” category.
“This Charter Amendment would bring Gainesville’s anti-discrimination laws in line with the state of Florida’s,” said Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center.
“The concept of ‘gender identity’ was fashioned by radical homosexual organizations and advocates to normalize and protect the bizarre sexual behavior of a few people because they feel more like a woman or a man than what is their actual sex. These radical groups have taken over city councils like Gainesville. In practical effect, these types of ordinances end up being used to prosecute Christians who faithfully practice their faith.”
A statement on the Citizens for Good Public Policy web site warns that a group closely allied with the City Commission is trying to persuade petition signers to rescind their signatures, charging that signatories are helping to legalize discrimination. The group also claims that Citizens for Good Public Policy are really targeting homosexual rights.
Citizens for Good Public Rights denies the charges, saying that its organizers have never protested or brought legal action against the city’s civil rights laws protecting sexual orientation, protections which have existed since 1988.
“Let us be clear: Citizens for Good Public Policy believes local laws should neither oppose nor favor sexual orientation,” the group says on its web site. “We consider sexual orientation a matter of personal choice, and therefore unsuitable as a civil rights category.”
The organization argues that the Gainesville City Council’s decision “moved matters of privacy and sexuality from private bedrooms to public restrooms, and their refusal to consider public concern precipitated the formation of Citizens for Good Public Policy.”