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Saturday, October 1, 2022

City approves ordinance, voters to decide on charter inclusion of feminine pronouns

The City of Ocala approved an ordinance that revises the city charter to include feminine pronouns. Now, voters will have the chance to adopt it this fall.

The approval of the ordinance came during the Ocala City Council meeting on June 15. Council members unanimously approved the change with no public comment, despite public outcry in previous meetings about the changes.

The proposed changes concern the amendment of sections of the City Charter that have been adopted or readopted since 1973.

As a result, the amendments will require a referendum vote, which is scheduled for September 21, 2021.

Assistant City Attorney Robert Batsel indicated that the new ordinance would be inclusive, instead of exclusive, by adding the “feminine equivalent” instead of removing terms.

The proposed ordinance revises the City Charter by replacing “he” with “he or she”; “his” with “his or her”; “him” with “him or her”; “councilman” with council member”; “policeman” with “police officer;” and “spokesman” with “spokesperson,” reads city records.

Under the Home Rule Powers Act, local governments can amend some charter provisions without a referendum but other charter provisions require a referendum.

Will you vote to support the new ordinance? Share your thoughts in a letter to the editor.