going the wrong way

Author’s note: Although this blog is read worldwide, my primary focus and reason for the blog is to my church family in Tampa Bay, FL.  There are times the blog will address current issues in my area and I will use this platform as an opportunity to communicate with my church family and friends of our ministry. Today’s blog is a follow-up to a notice I posted yesterday.

On Monday evening, December 1, 2015, the Hillsborough County Charter Review Board (CRB) held their final hearing on a resolution to add to the County Charter and put on the November 2016 voting ballot what county lawyers describe as a “provision to increase the class of persons against whom discrimination is prohibited”.

It became obvious that not only was the “moral majority” opposed to the resolution, but the militant LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans-sexual and Queer) crowd was also opposed to the resolution.  While my concern was the moral issues and implications of such an addition to the County Charter, the LGBTQ crowd’s concern was the scrutiny, unwanted publicity, and criticisms this proposal to the Voting Ballot would bring to their cause.  Former commissioner, Jan Platt, an appointee of liberal Commissioner Kevin Beckner, had originally proposed the resolution, but made a motion before the vote to withdraw her proposal when she realized nearly everyone in the public hearing was against the resolution.

Particularly troubling to me was what I feel were misleading comments by the County’s legal counsel that implied the opposition’s concern was unwarranted that restrooms, locker rooms, and gym showers would become open spaces for predators and voyeurs to claim their right to use facilities of the opposite sex based on “sexual orientation or gender identity or expression”.  I am also troubled the county’s lawyers elected to remove definitions from the resolution and ballot question with the rationale they complicated the resolution [after all, words do have meaning].

Be assured this is a short-lived victory because the damage was already done by the County Commissioners in 2014 when they gave the LGBTQ crowd a status that in effect discriminates against businesses and institutions that believe in traditional marriage and have the conviction that homosexuality is immoral and against the natural order of God’s creation (Romans 1:26-28).  As we have seen in other states, the County Commissioners’ foolish appeasement of the LGBTQ crowd will encourage litigation against family owned bakeries, catering businesses, florists, photographers, musicians and private property owners who refuse to participate in “gay marriage” ceremonies as a matter of religious conviction.

The proposal to amend the County Charter and add a “Discrimination Prohibition” is dead; however, it will resurrect its immoral head in 5 years when another County Charter Review Board is formed.

If the Hillsborough County Commissioners want to assure the citizens of the County the safety of our children and families is a priority, I propose they pass an ordinance that states specifically that “single-sex public facilities will be restricted to persons of the sex for which the facility is designated” [I lifted this phrase from the Florida House Bill 583 that died in Judiciary Committee April 28, 2015].

I encourage every Hillsborough County citizen who shares my concerns to ask our county commissioners to adopt an ordinance that will specifically address the privacy and safety concerns we have for our children, daughters, wives and mothers that “single-sex public facilities will be restricted to persons of the sex for which the facility is designated”.

Furthermore, I propose a statement implying the same be proposed by the Charter Review Board, voted on by the citizens of the county, and become part of the Hillsborough County Charter.

Travis D. Smith

Tampa, FL

Copyright 2015 by Travis D. Smith