Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Residents in Ky. towns push expansion of civil-rights ordinances to include sexual orientation

Citizens in several Kentucky towns are working with state and national organizations to petition their city councils to pass fairness ordinances, which would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in housing, accommodations and employment, Peter Smith of The Courier-Journal in Louisville reports. (Photo by Aaron Borton; Andy Frueh gives Elizabethtown City Council members copies of proposed ordinance)

Only Louisville, Lexington and Covington, all in large metropolitan areas, have fairness ordinances. Residents are pushing for passage in Shelbyville, Bowling Green, Richmond, Berea and Elizabethtown. The issue is highl;y controversial; an ordinance in Henderson was repealed less than two years after being implemented, and an ordinance in Berea failed last year, though the council created a human-rights commission.

The Fairness Campaign, a state LGBT rights organization, and the Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union are working with local citizens to get ordinances adopted, and for a state law that would eliminate the need for city-by-city ordinances but seems unlikely anytime soon. LGBT rights advocates are energized to make a large push for ordinance adoption after this year's election, Smith reports. Three states -- Maine, Maryland and Washington -- passed same-sex marriage laws by popular vote for the first time, and several polls show that young people are increasingly supportive of LGBT people. President Obama has spoken out in support of same-sex marriage, but he carried only four of Kentucky's 120 counties, two of which have fairness ordinances. (Read more)

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