Note: you can download a copy of the following material here.
Georgetown Fairness is working to pass an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in Georgetown, Kentucky. Federal civil rights law does not prohibit such discrimination, so 22 states and hundreds of cities have passed “fairness” laws to protect LGBT citizens at the state or local level. Georgetown would be the 9th locality in Kentucky to pass a fairness ordinance.
Aren’t protections like this already in place? I thought the courts solved this problem, or that existing laws covered LGBT discrimination.
The short answer is NO: sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected classes under federal or state civil rights law. There is a patchwork of policies and regulations protecting LGBT persons in some situations, such as federal employees and sub-contractors, KY state employees, and people in HUD housing. The Obama administration tried to extend LGBT protections as a type of sex-based discrimination, but this has been challenged in court and is subject to change by the current administration. The surest way to extend protection is with a fairness law.
Do we really need this law? We’re not the kind of community that discriminates, and I don’t see any discrimination around me.
Yes: we know Brittany Martin suffered housing discrimination, and we have heard stories from others about harassment, bullying, and suicide. One reason you haven’t heard about discrimination is that people hide their stories when they don’t have legal protections. Many LGBT people feel they must hide their identities to live or work in Georgetown; many more have simply moved away. Neither situation is good for our community.
Aren’t laws like this bad for business?
NO! Businesses like fairness because it helps them recruit and retain the most talented people. 83% of Kentuckians support fairness, and all of Kentucky’s Fortune 500 businesses (including Toyota) have their own LGBT non-discrimination policies. Many more support fairness as part of the Kentucky Competitive Workforce Coalition. What’s more, neighboring Midway has shown that fairness may even help the local economy a lot. Since passing fairness in 2015, Midway has recruited companies that will double the number of jobs there.
Would my church have to marry or employ gay people?
NO. Fairness laws have exemptions for churches and church-run businesses. They in no way impact churches’ or ministers’ rights to abstain from performing same-gender weddings, and they would not force a church to hire or rent to someone against their beliefs.