gay rights

Fairness Campaign

A Kentucky group that advocates for the LGBT community is hoping to expand Bowling Green’s civil rights ordinance.

The Fairness Campaign wants the city to become the ninth in the state to pass a fairness ordinance that would prohibit LGBT individuals from being discriminated against in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

The campaign’s western Kentucky regional organizer, Dora James, says the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage isn’t the last hurdle for LGBT rights.

“There are no state or federal enumerated laws that protect against LGBT discrimination, so a lot of people are surprised to know that it’s 2015, but you can totally be fired from your job, or denied housing, or kicked out of a restaurant or park for being gay or transgender.”

The Bowling Green chapter of the Fairness Campaign is seeking signatures for a petition to present to the Bowling Green city commission in support of a fairness ordinance. They’re also holding an event Thursday night in the city’s downtown called “Love Takes Over: LGBT Fairness on Fountain Square.”

The goal of the event is to get signatures on a petition encouraging city government to add the LGBT community to the current civil rights statute covering the town. Those that sign will get a pin allowing them entrance to several concerts around town, as well as other specials at supportive businesses.

Map Evansville

An online tool with information about Evansville-area businesses and their attitudes towards LGBT customers and employees is looking to expand.

The Map Evansville website is the brainchild of University of Southern Indiana psychology professor Amie McKibban, who asks business owners to fill out a survey, with the results shared online.

McKibban says the recent controversy in the Hoosier State regarding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has led to a spike in the number of businesses that want to fill out the assessment.

“I think we jumped from 30 businesses to about 71 in a matter of two weeks," the USI professor said.

McKibban and a USI student are struggling to keep the website updated with the amount of new information being sent in.

McKibban is seeking private and corporate support that she says will be used to update the website’s current software and develop a mobile app that can be used by area residents and visitors to learn more about how businesses handle LGBT issues.

“So it’s really easy, if you’re out and about, or if you’re new to the area or visiting the area. You can download the app and find the restaurant you’re looking for, or perhaps a bakery you’re looking for, a clothing store, a place of worship—whatever you’re looking for,” McKibban said.

Indiana Governor: New Law 'Not About' Exclusion

Mar 30, 2015

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence defended the new state law that's garnered widespread criticism over concerns it could foster discrimination against gays and lesbians and said Sunday it wasn't a mistake to have enacted it.

Pence appeared on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" to discuss the measure he signed last week prohibiting state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Since the Republican governor signed the bill into law Thursday, Indiana has been widely criticized by businesses and organizations around the nation, as well as on social media with the hashtag #boycottindiana. Already, consumer review service Angie's List has said it will suspend a planned expansion in Indianapolis because of the new law.

Pence did not answer directly when asked at least six times whether under the law it would be legal for a merchant to refuse to serve gay customers. "This is not about discrimination, this is about empowering people to confront government overreach," he said. Asked again, he said, "Look, the issue here is still is tolerance a two-way street or not."

Sexual orientation is not covered under Indiana's civil rights law. Pence has said he "won't be pursuing that."

Ryan Messer decided he could go home again.

Messer was one of a number of gay men of his generation who packed up and left Cincinnati, a city with a history of official discrimination, for friendlier cities on the coasts.

"They still have this Cincinnati group in San Diego," he says. "They're doing great things, and we lost that talent."

But the city charter, which blocked legal protections for gays and lesbians up until a decade ago, has since been amended.

"When I was 23, we were such a novelty," Messer says. "Now, there is no issue."

Gunning for Three Bills, Fairness Campaign Hopes at Least for Kentucky House Hearing

Feb 20, 2013
Rae Hodges

Seeking the passage of three pieces of legislation protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, more than 200 people rallied on Wednesday in the Capitol Rotunda with Kentucky's Fairness Campaign. 

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, a Democrat of Louisville, is  sponsoring a bill that would prevent employers from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation. The bill, along with Senate Bill 28, would also make it illegal for landlords and real estate agents to discriminate on those grounds.

"I think the realistic hope is that we might get the first ever hearing on the anti-discrimination fairness law in House Judiciary this year," Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman said. "That's really what we're gunning for. Even if it's an informational only hearing it would be the first time they've ever discussed the bill on the record."

Rally for Gay Rights to Be Held in Frankfort Wednesday

Feb 20, 2013

A gay rights group has planned a rally at the Kentucky State Capitol Wednesday in support of anti-discrimination legislation. The Fairness Coalition will also press for tougher anti-bullying laws at the 1:30 p.m. EST events.

Proponents from across Kentucky are expected to take part, including the mayor of the tiny eastern Kentucky town of Vicco that recently passed an ordinance protecting residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The rally is intended to pressure lawmakers to pass legislation pending in the House and Senate that would protect all Kentuckians from such discrimination. It's also to push lawmakers to pass the anti-bullying bill to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

Another Eastern Kentucky Town Passes Gay Rights Order

Feb 2, 2013

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.