Shelbyville City Council: Group to request fairness ordinance

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Kentuckians for the Commonwealth will make a presentation of equal-rights measure that has been adopted in three cities.

By Todd Martin

The newly formed Shelby County chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth will ask the Shelbyville City Council to consider a so-called “fairness ordinance” patterned after a equal rights measure passed in three other cities.

The group, which held its first meeting in September, will present a copy of the ordinance to the council at its regular meeting Thursday at city hall, but the issue for now is only a request.

Created by the Fairness Campaign, the anti-discrimination ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on someone’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

“It also includes language on race, gender and other forms of possible discrimination,” said Leslie McBride of the Shelby County chapter.

Chris Hartman, the director of the Fairness Campaign and a member of the steering committee for the Master Fairness Coalition, which helped get Louisville’s Fairness Ordinance passed in 1999, said it would be ideal to “have a statewide law to alleviate the need for individual cities to pass this law, but things in Frankfort are slow-moving right now.

“Currently, there are 15 co-sponsors of the fairness law, five in the Senate and ten in the House,” he said. “But despite a poll showing that eighty-three percent of Kentuckians support a change like this, only about eleven percent of the state government has signed off on it.”

Louisville was the first city to pass the ordinance, but Lexington and Covington also have passed it. Nine other cities will introduce the legislation this month.

“We’ve had a number of communities where the residents have moved this forward, including Berea, Richmond, Bowling Green and Elizabethtown” Hartman said.

Hartman said the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth have been very helpful since recently taking up the Fairness Campaign.

“They have really stepped up to help the campaign in Shelbyville, Bowling Green and Berea,” he said. “It’s a new cause for them, so a lot of local chapters have been taking it up.”

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is a statewide organization that focuses on keeping Kentuckians informed.

“This is just one of the many issues that the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is focusing on,” said McBride, whose chapter is one of 13 statewide. “We also are against mountain top removal, and we’re working on a bill of rights for the Shelby Energy Cooperative”

The group will meet Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Coffee Shop at Sixth and Main to organize before the city council meeting at 6:30.

The group also has plans to introduce the measure at Shelby County Fiscal Court, but no agenda for that presentation has been published.

Also at the meeting, the council will:

  • Present a proclamation declaring November Diabetes Month.
  • Hear an ordinance to create an Engineering/GIS position at the Department of Public Works.
  • Hear a municipal order declaring an automobile as surplus.