Fairness Campaign

Colin Jackson

The leader of a Kentucky LGBTQ-rights group is optimistic another city in the state will pass a Fairness Ordinance by the end of August.

Chris Hartman, executive director of the Fairness Campaign, made the prediction on the heels of the Henderson City Commission adopting a Fairness Ordinance at its meeting Tuesday night.

Hartman said advocates in other cities are encouraged whenever laws are passed that expand legal protections for the LGBTQ community.

Flickr/Creative Commons

The Henderson City Commission Tuesday night approved the second reading of a measure that will provide greater legal protections for LGBTQ individuals. 

The Fairness Ordiance passed on a 3-2 vote, the same margin of victory the proposal saw when it passed its first reading earlier this month. The measure prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. 

It's the second time Henderson has passed a Fairness Ordinance. The city commission also passed a similar measure in 1999, but it was repealed 18 months later when the makeup of the commission changed.

WFPL

City leaders in Henderson will vote Tuesday on a measure that would extend civil rights protections to members of the LGBTQ population. 

The city commission is going down a familiar road with a so-called fairness ordinance.  Leaders in Henderson passed a fairness ordinance in 1999 but it was repealed 18 months later when the makeup of the city commission was changed. 

Current Mayor Steve Austin recalls it being a divisive time and doesn’t see the need for a fairness law, but the present city commission voted 3-2 earlier this year to revisit the matter. 

Colin Jackson

The final reading of an LGBTQ protection measure known as a Fairness Ordinance at Tuesday's Bowling Green City Commission meeting failed on a 3-2 vote.

It marked the latest rejection in a statewide effort to have local governments ban discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on gender identity or sexual orientation. The Bowling Green City Commission also rejected the Fairness Ordinance during its first reading at a meeting in April. 

Commissioner Brian "Slim" Nash played a nasty voicemail he received for supporting the measure prior to opening the floor for open comment.

WFPL

A western Kentucky town may repeat history by passing a Fairness Ordinance. 

A public meeting will be held in Henderson on Monday evening to gauge interest in a law that would give civil rights protections to the LGBTQ population. 

Former Mayor Joan Hoffman helped pass a fairness law in 1999 that was repealed 18 months later because of changes on the city commission.

Lisa Autry

The Bowling Green City Commission is set to hear the first reading of a set of civil rights measures known as a "fairness ordinance" at its meeting Tuesday.

The proposal would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accomodations on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Commissioner Brian "Slim" Nash previously introduced the protections, but did not receive the second needed to bring them to a vote. He says that's when he decided not to reintroduce the ordinance until there was a shift in the makeup of the board.

The Fairness Campaign

The largest city in Kentucky without a fairness ordinance will host its first pride festival later this month. 

The October 21 event in Bowling Green will feature music, performances, and vendors, as well as a rally at city hall.  The day will conclude with a pride crawl in the evening that will feature drink specials, live music, and drag performances at participating venues. 

Chris Hartman heads the Fairness Campaign based in Louisville and says he commends local organizers for holding the inaugural event.

Lisa Autry

Members of the LGBT community and their supporters want a judge in south central Kentucky to resign over his opposition to gay adoptions. 

Judge Mitchell Nance, a family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties, has recused himself from presiding over adoptions by homosexual parents.  He said he believes allowing gay couples to adopt is not in a child’s best interest.  His announcement has drawn a range of opinions, some calling for him to step down from the bench.

In a rally outside the Barren County Courthouse, Chadwick Shockley of Glasgow said he knows Judge Nance personally and was surprised by his recusal.

"It was like a kick in the head for him to infer that I was not fit to be a parent," Shockley told WKU Public Radio.  "I've raised two sons and a daughter with my husband."

Rhonda J. Miller

A Bowling Green LGBT rights advocate told the Bowling Green City Commission Tuesday that it’s time to get in step with communities across the nation and pass a fairness ordinance.

Supporters want members of the LGBT community protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Western Kentucky University legal history expert Patricia Minter points to the Municipal Equality Index released Oct. 17 by the Human Rights Campaign.  The index rates LGBT inclusion in cities across the nation.

Bowling Green got a score of 17 out of a possible 100, the worst score of the eight Kentucky cities rated. Minter says that low HRC rating casts a shadow over the city in both human and business terms.

“HRC is a well-respected civil rights organization, and what we know is that Fortune 500 companies, S&P companies, companies that are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, all look at HRC indexes when they’re deciding where they’re going to relocate, where they will look for employees.”

Efforts are underway to make Elizabethtown the ninth Kentucky city with a fairness ordinance.

The city council will hear a presentation later this month from the Fairness Campaign. Director Chris Hartman says a similar effort failed three years ago, but he’s still optimistic.

"Often times it is a tough road to convince elected officials to pick up what they imagine is a controversial issue," Hartman said.  "It's a different city council than the one in place in 2012 so we expect the response might be different now."

The ordinance would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public accomodations based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Midway became the most recent city to approve a fairness ordinance in June.

Fairness Campaign

A Kentucky group that advocates for the LGBT community is hoping to expand Bowling Green’s civil rights ordinance.

The Fairness Campaign wants the city to become the ninth in the state to pass a fairness ordinance that would prohibit LGBT individuals from being discriminated against in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

The campaign’s western Kentucky regional organizer, Dora James, says the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage isn’t the last hurdle for LGBT rights.

“There are no state or federal enumerated laws that protect against LGBT discrimination, so a lot of people are surprised to know that it’s 2015, but you can totally be fired from your job, or denied housing, or kicked out of a restaurant or park for being gay or transgender.”

The Bowling Green chapter of the Fairness Campaign is seeking signatures for a petition to present to the Bowling Green city commission in support of a fairness ordinance. They’re also holding an event Thursday night in the city’s downtown called “Love Takes Over: LGBT Fairness on Fountain Square.”

The goal of the event is to get signatures on a petition encouraging city government to add the LGBT community to the current civil rights statute covering the town. Those that sign will get a pin allowing them entrance to several concerts around town, as well as other specials at supportive businesses.