Covington Expands Ordinance
[COVINGTON, KY] - Tonight the City Commission of Covington, Kentucky voted unanimously (5-0) to expand the City's Human Rights Ordinance to include protection from discrimination for, among other categories, sexual orientation and gender identity. Thanks for at least two of the yes votes, in my opinion, goes to Citizen's for Community Values (CCV), an Ohio based organization that announced early on that it would lead the opposition to the proposed Ordinance. Kentuckians historically are resistant "outsider" interference and Commission members expressed annoyance that CCV would attempt to influence their decision. CCV next announced that they would cover the cost of any lawsuits brought by Covington businesses challenging the Ordinance if it was passed. Commission members outraged by that announcement. But the best was yet to come. After public hearings showed the Covington citizens overwhelmingly supported expanding the Ordinance CCV sent 20,000 mailers to Covington residents denouncing the ordinance and pointing out that the Catholic Church opposes legal protections for gays and lesbians (all of the Commissioners are Catholic). Commissioners were incensed and the Diocese of Covington released a statement saying that the Church's publications on the subject were not encyclicals but were meant more as guidelines. The Diocese said that Catholics opposed discrimination of all kinds, as close as they could come to supporting the Ordinance. The results were an amazing unanimous vote!
I suggest thank you notes be sent to Phil Burris, Citizens for Community Values, 11175 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45241
Meanwhile the hard work of the Northern Kentucky Fairness Alliance and Kentucky Fairness Alliance cannot be praised highly enough! It was their efforts that assured the passage and helped Commissioners see past the opposition's arguments that protection from discrimination is a "special right."
Congratulations can be sent to the Northern Kentucky Fairness Alliance, Post Office Box 121293, Covington, KY 41012 and the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, Post Office Box 3912, Louisville, KY 40201. KFA's website is http://www.kentuckyfairness.org/
Meanwhile, just across the Ohio River, Citizen's to Restore Fairness are ramping up their efforts to repeal Issue 3/Article XII that makes Cincinnati the only city in the country with a provision that makes it illegal for any laws to be passed that protect gay, lesbian and bisexual people from discrimination. Cincinnati City Council recently enacted a Hate Crimes Ordinance that includes sexual orientation and gender identity following the much publicized murder of a gay man in its Over-the-Rhine neighborhood on New Year's Eve. CCV promptly announced that they would sue the City to challenge the new law. Some City Council members expressed interest in the court process as a way to once again have a chance at taking Issue 3/Article XII to the U.S. Supreme Court. That could be interesting!
That's the news from Kentucky (and Greater Cincinnati).
Editorial - In its April 24th editorial, the Kentucky Post presented a strong case for passage of an amendment to the Covington Human Rights Ordinance that would be LGBT-inclusive. Please take a few minutes to read this enlightened article.
Photos from the Power Summit