WKU Constitutional Law Expert to Testify in Favor of Expanded LGBT Legal Protections
Efforts to expand Kentucky’s Civil Rights Act are getting a boost from a Western Kentucky University legal scholar.
History Professor and Constitutional law expert Patricia Minter is testifying Wednesday in Frankfort in support of a bill that would offer greater legal protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.
The measure would expand the reach of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act to cover LGBT individuals.
Minter says Kentucky’s LGBT community shouldn’t face discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
“It won’t be long before Americans all over the country will look back at using sexual orientation or gender identity as discriminatory categories, and wonder what people were thinking,” Minter said.
The Kentucky House Judiciary committee will hear testimony regarding the bill Wednesday at noon eastern.
Minter acknowledges the bill faces an uphill climb in this year’s legislature. Opponents of protecting LGBT individuals under the state’s Civil Rights Act say such a move would infringe upon the religious beliefs of employers and landlords.
The Senate version of the bill is called the Kentucky Competitive Workforce Act. The measure is backed by nearly 200 employers who have formed the Kentucky Competitive Workforce Coalition. The group argues that protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination would make the Bluegrass Stare more attractive to businesses who favor progressive values, as well as workers who want to live in places seen as welcoming to the LGBT community.
“When you’re trying to recruit the best people to coming into the state, whether it’s new companies with new jobs, or the best people who work for existing corporations outside the state, we know that people are not going to move to a place where they fear discrimination,” Minter said. “We don’t want to be in a situation where someone would not move to Kentucky to take a job, or purchase a home, or raise their family, because they didn’t feel welcome.”
Supporters of LGBT rights are holding a Fairness Rally at the state capitol rotunda Wednesday afternoon following the House Judiciary Committee testimony.