Florida's Collier County Commission approved a resolution Tuesday banning discrimination against all county residents. The resolution, passed 4-1, calls for county staff to refer discrimination complaints to state or federal authorities. Commissioners unanimously rejected a similar resolution on December 17, saying they were uncomfortable with the proposal's unknown consequences. It would have created an 11-member panel to look into allegations of discrimination. The previous resolution specifically included protection for gays and lesbians. The new resolution does not list any specific protected classes but says the county prohibits all discrimination. Critics say Collier County should take an active role against discrimination instead of simply referring people to state and federal agencies. "This is like putting a Band-Aid on someone who had their leg amputated," said LaVerne Franklin, president of the Collier County chapter of the NAACP.
At least five Florida localities passed or upheld gay rights ordinances last year--Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties and the cities of St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Orlando. Other Florida localities that had similar protections on the books before 2002 were Alachua, Broward, Escambia, and Leon counties as well as the cities of Gainesville, Key West, Miami Beach, Tampa, and Wilton Manors.