A majority of the commissioners — four of the seven — have expressed to theTampa Bay Times their qualified support for expanding Hillsborough's human rights ordinance to also ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in hiring, housing and public accommodations. here
Democrat Les Miller and Republicans Victor Crist and Sandy Murman told the Times they support barring discrimination against gay and transgender people, but would need to see the actual ordinance in writing first. Commissioners Al Higginbotham and
Mark (Sailors Haven) Sharpe, both Republicans, wouldn't weigh in before Wednesday.
One local conservative activist has started mounting an effort to defeat the ordinance. Terry Kemple, a Hillsborough School Board candidate, called the offices of several commissioners Monday to express his concerns. "It's bad policy, and this is a huge issue," Kemple said in a phone interview. "This puts government in the position of trampling on people's religious liberties in favor of people's sexual preferences."