Frankfort becomes 5th Kentucky city to pass fairness ordinance


by Gene Kang

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 29 at 5:40 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Frankfort is the fifth city in Kentucky to pass a law protecting people against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace and other areas. The vote was delayed twice and placed on hold for many months, surrounded by heated debate.

It took eight months of going back and forth for the city of Frankfort to pass the ordinance Thursday morning.

"If they want to do it that's fine but don't endorse it," an opponent said.

You could cut tension with a knife at city hall. The Frankfort Board of Commissioners voted 3 to 2 in favor of a new city law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but not without a fight.

"The Bible speaks plainly that homosexual is wrong. There ain't no if or and or but about it," Dale Wethington who opposes the fairness law said.

Chuck Queen, minister at Immanuel Baptist Church, said: "People like you and me wrote the Bible and it has conflicting faith theologies. We have to use reason and common sense for a spirit of compassion."

The ordinance does allow for exceptions including churches and organizations with sincerely held religious beliefs. However, the law allows a person to file a formal complaint with the Frankfort Human Rights Commission if they face prejudice in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or identity.

It's something Frankfort city commissioner Lynn Bowers said she couldn't agree with without redefining what gender identity actually means. She said she wanted to add amendments that include "asexual" people along with those who believe in their mind that they are of a different sex.

"When you pass legislation knowing that you will have to come back and fix it and knowing how to fix it, you need to spend the extra 24 hours to fix it," said Bowers.

"Folks are getting engaged once they find out you can still fire someone from their job in most of Kentucky if they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,"  Fairness Campaign director, Chris Hartman, said.

There are fairness laws enacted in Frankfort, Louisville, Lexington, Covington and Vicco.