After three years of debating the issue, the Berea City Council has voted down a proposed fairness ordinance. The measure failed Tuesday night, with five members voting against, and three voting in favor.
The measure sought to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
The meeting room and an overflow area in a garage next door were both crowded with people with opposing viewpoints.
Berea native Betty Rowlett was pleased with the vote.
"Well, I just don't think we need it in Berea. I think everybody is treated equally in my opinion. I've lived here all my life and I've never known anything to happen," said Rowlett.
Gay rights advocates have scored another victory in a small eastern Kentucky town as Berea prepares to expand anti-discrimination protections for city employees.
Mayor Steve Connelly announced this week that he will sign an executive order banning discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation in hiring, firing and benefits for the city's 130 employees.
"Personally I think it's the right thing to do, and in terms of our city, we were founded in 1853 with the idea that people were going to be treated equal," Connelly said in a phone interview with the Associated Press. The move follows the drafting of a new gay rights ordinance in the tiny Appalachian town of Vicco that went into effect last month. Vicco's law bans discrimination against gays in employment and housing in the town of about 330 people.