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."
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.
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.