Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 21, 2013

Morehead considering fairness ordinance

Lana Bellamy
For The Independent

MOREHEAD — Adoption of an ordinance created to bolster gender identity and sexual orientation equality will be brought before Morehead’s November city council session, Mayor David Perkins said earlier this week.

The council was approached about the issue in mid-September when they were asked to enact a fairness ordinance to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.

The Rowan County chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, along with Kentucky Fairness Coalition, Morehead State University students and city residents were present for the issue discussion.

Pending Morehead’s acceptance, Frankfort is the most recent Kentucky city to approve such an ordinance, approving it less than two months ago. Louisville, Lexington, Covington and Vicco also adopted equality laws within the past 10 years.

The current law in Morehead explicitly states individuals cannot be discriminated against for employment, housing and public accommodations for race, sex, religion, nationality or age.

The ordinance hopes to add specific protection of an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

 If Morehead adopts the ordinance, it will align with an MSU policy already in place that provides partner benefits and prohibits discrimination.

When the ordinance was initially brought before the council, Morehead residents, MSU students and council members actively discussed the benefits and drawbacks of the rules.

ALLYance, an MSU student-ran organization based on sexual orientation awareness and equality, also attended the meeting.

Resident Cody Montgomery spoke out at this meeting, saying, “Passing an ordinance will send a message that we are a community committed to making sure that all our friends, neighbors and family are treated fairly.”

The council appeared receptive to the concerns voiced about the city’s fairness and agreed to begin the process of looking at potential ordinances they could adopt.

As they look at potential ordinances, the council can observe specific rules and procedures they would like to instill.

Council member Tom Carew said, “I’d like for us to move forward with this. Fairness is important. I think this would make us a fairer city.”

The next meeting will be in November, where the council is expected to report on their selection progress.

LANA BELLAMY is a student at Morehead State University.