Bowling Green City Commission votes against Fairness Ordinance

Published: Apr. 16, 2019 at 8:58 PM CDT
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Tuesday night the Bowling Green City Commission voted 3-to-2 against

adopting a Fairness Ordinance in its first reading.

"I was very disappointed," said Joshua Finn, in favor the ordinance.

Commissioners Slim Nash and Dana Beasley Brown voted for the ordinance; commissioners Sue Parragin and Joe Denning, and Mayor Bruce Wilkerson voted against it.

The commission will vote on a second reading of the ordinance Tuesday, May 7th. Supporters say it would protect people from being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Those in opposition say the ordinance 'deters' businesses from coming to the growing city of Bowling Green.

"If somebody's not producing and that person is just a bad worker, and if that person was fired, and they should be rightly so, that person could claimed SOGI status that boss fired me because of my sexual orientation or gender identity," said Richard Nelson who opposes the ordinance.

Prior to the vote, of the people who spoke out tonight, 11 were opposed, and 24 in favor of the Fairness Ordinance. One supporter said, “This feels like this is Jim Crow 2.”

The evening began with three residents taking the podium, publicly opposing the Fairness Ordinance. There was a list of those wanting to make public comment. Mayor Wilkerson said they would be there however long it took for everyone’s comments to be heard.

The Fairness Ordinance was first introduced in 2017, when Commissioner Slim Nash made the motion to adopt it. However, no one seconded the motion, so it never came to a formal vote.

Tuesday night, Commissioner Beasley Brown seconded Nash's motion, so the ordinance could be discussed.

People packed city hall to see and hear how the discussion on the Fairness Ordinance went. The overflow crowd even gathered around a TV downstairs as the meeting room filled up quickly.

A Fairness Ordinance has already been adopted in 10 cities across Kentucky. It would protect people from being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

"The Jesus Christ that you celebrate that would urge you to deny someone housing, that would urge you to deny someone the right to a job, that is a Jesus Christ that never existed in the Bible," said one supporter.

Many in favor are remaining optimistic for a different outcome in the second reading.

"It's past time for fairness, but I think it's right on time here in Bowling Green and I remain hopeful," said Representative Patti Minter (D-KY), 20th District.

The second reading will take place at the next meeting on May 7.