Historic City News has learned that Bishop Felipe Estevez of the Diocese of St. Augustine, sent a letter to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry saying the church cannot support either version of the proposed changes to the city’s Human Rights Ordinance.
In a two-page letter, Bishop Estevez warns that extending protections under Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender community, and then putting the issue before Duval County voters in a special referendum, would discriminate against the religious beliefs of “people of faith”.
“Our constant conviction has been and continues to be that sexual activity between persons of the same gender is contrary to the moral principles which come to us through the words of the Holy Bible, as well as good reason, and which we have no right or authority to change,” Bishop Estevez explained. “Our support for the proposed ordinance amendment, therefore, would not extend to any provision, construction, or interpretation that might seem to sanction, imply, or require acceptance of homosexual expression or activity in the areas covered by the proposed legislation.”
The St Augustine Bishop has been in lockstep with Vatican City and it’s edict against same-sex marriage, indicating that the Diocese would not support new anti-discrimination laws if the LGBT housing applicants, for example, were legally married.
“Despite recent court rulings defining the secular understanding of marriage to include same-sex couples, we are concerned that the forced toleration, or even sanctioning, of same-sex expression or activity will further undermine the institution of marriage, as we understand it, and the integrity of the family in our society.”