Waymon Hudson

Jacksonville, FL Councilman Thinks Human Rights Not Necessary for Human Rights Board

Filed By Waymon Hudson | April 12, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: city councilmember, Clay Yarborough, Florida, gay marriage, human rights commission, Jacksonville

Local human Rights Boards can be important places for minority communities to bring forward issues and concerns in their municipalities. The purpose of these boards are right in the name: Human Rights. They deal with issues around discrimination.

yarborough-300x200.jpgDon't tell that to Jacksonville City Councilman Clay Yarborough. Yarborough asked a Jacksonville Human Rights Commission nominee about his views on same-sex marriage and his tenure on the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida's board and the ACLU of Florida. The councilman also asked the man and another female nominee to disclose whether they support prayer in public buildings, the use of the phrase "In God We Trust" on government seals and "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Both of the nominees and the mayor's office (who put forward the two potential Board members) said Yarborough's questions were irrelevant.

Although Yarborough had never asked such questions of nominees before, he did so now because:

I believe they are pertinent because of the gravity of the matters that the Human Rights Commission can deal with.

Basically Yarborbourgh wanted to see if he could get nominees on a Human Rights Board that would discriminate while dealing with issues surrounding discrimination. And this isn't his first time at the right-wing rodeo.

Yarbourogh was one of two elected officials who, at a Duval County School Board meeting a few years ago, came out to specifically oppose a move to consider amending its polices to include sexual orientation as a protected class in several areas of it policies.  At the time he was a member of the Soil and Water Board.  The other official who spoke out was Lake Ray who cited ugly anti-gay "statistics" from the debunked researcher Paul Cameron.

As for Human Rights Board nominees, one appointee, University of North Florida professor Pervez Ahmad, answered Yarborough's questions and was recommended for approval. The other, Florida Coastal School of Law professor Susan Harthill, did not. Yarborough blocked her appointment, saying he:

didn't have enough information about her to know whether she was a good fit.

When pressed about why he asked such questions and blocked a nominee, Yarborough said that if gay marriage became a topic before the Human Rights Commission, he would want to know whether any potential member supported changing current state law:


It would concern me if someone of that belief was on that board if they could address that issue.

Because anyone who believes in human rights (and doesn't agree with Yarborough) isn't a good "fit" for a independent commission set to deal with human rights and discrimination.

I'm guessing the hypocrisy of questioning and blocking nominees using discriminatory reasoning for a position on the Human Rights Board is lost on someone like Yarborourgh, who's only agenda appears to be furthering his personal anti-LGBT, anti-Islamic, and anti-Equality right-wing fundamentalist agenda.

So much for representing all residents...

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Nicole Hatch | April 13, 2010 9:46 AM

This is so typical of the predominant attitude in Jacksonville. I grew up there and still have family there so I find myself there a lot. The city is pretty much controlled by Evangelical Christians, specifically First Baptist Church who garners 25,000 people on Sundays. The Caucasians are very heavily Republican. I'd say 40% of the population is African American which tempers the strong Republican contingent, but the African Americans tend to be very homophobic and Transphobic which I suppose comes from their Church roots. This attitude of intolerance is pretty much why I left Jacksonville and moved to South Florida.

That guy looks familiar. I know I've seen him before....(Twist? Score? George's?)

We just have to keep shining a light in the bigots. People start to see them for what they are.

Closet case if ever there was one ...

This guy is a huge douchebag who still lives at home with his mom in her basement!

Wtf does he know?

Anna Millan | May 21, 2010 12:09 PM

i know clay yarbrough when i was in middle school and he was in 8th grade, his dad was a counselor in landmark. wow you look good clay still same face too.

is this nikki yuni hatch who i went to beta tech with...its grant if this is you find me on facebook