Berea Mayor’s Opposition Won’t Stop Push for Fairness Law

by Gabe Bullard on August 10, 2011

The head of the Louisville Fairness Campaign says the Mayor of Berea’s opposition to a fairness ordinance in that city won’t stop the efforts to expand protections in Kentucky.

The Fairness Campaign is trying to get small cities to pass laws blocking discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Director Chris Hartman says that could tip public opinion in favor of a statewide law.

Berea is close. The city council is debating whether to create a human rights commission to enforce current anti-discrimination laws. The next step is to expand protections for LGBT residents. But the mayor opposes the expansion, arguing that the commission would not be able to enforce a law that doesn’t exist on a statewide level.

“You know it took almost a decade to pass the law here in Louisville once the Fairness Campaign was founded,” says Hartman. “We’ve been at this in Berea for only a handful of months. It would’ve been wonderful had the ordinance passed within the first month or the first two months but we’re not naive here.”

The group Bereans for Fairness will release a report on the potential benefits of a fairness ordinance this week.

“There is certainly the potential that a combined Madison County ordinance could come to the fore at some point in time,” says Hartman. “So there are many options, all of which will be fully explored.”

Currently, only Louisville, Lexington and Covington have fairness laws.

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