LGBT

Human Rights Campaign

Kentucky has one city – Louisville - that earned top-ranking in a new report on towns that support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the community. Bowling Green was at the bottom.

The “Municipal Equality Index,” published by the Human Rights Campaign, grades cities on a scale of 1-to-100, based on issues like non- discrimination laws in employment and housing. The index also includes grades for the relationship city officials and police have with LGBTQ individuals.

U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Michael Smith/Released

Jacob Eleazer woke up today expecting an average day. He put on his tan khakis, brown shoes and gray polo, got in the car and drove to work. But not long after he walked in, messages from concerned friends and family members started flooding his phone. He checked the messages, and was shocked to see a series of tweets from President Donald Trump saying that transgender people would not be allowed to serve in the military.

Kentucky Hotel Says it Was to Host Events that Pulled Out

Jul 9, 2017
Creative Commons

A Kentucky hotel would have hosted two conventions that reportedly pulled out of negotiations due to California's state-funded travel ban, the hotel's general manager said.

"We received calls from each convention withdrawing from negotiations due to the California ban," Omni Louisville Hotel General Manager Scott Stuckey said in a release Saturday. "We have used discretion in discussing the issue and have not identified the conventions, in hopes that we could persuade them to do business with Omni and Louisville in the future."

Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

The attorney general of California has added Kentucky to a list of destinations banned from official state travel, saying a new religious expression law passed by the Kentucky General Assembly is discriminatory.

Senate Bill 17 was signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin this spring. Supporters say the legislation bolsters First Amendment protections for religious speech in public schools and universities.

Opponents have criticized the new law for language that protects religious and political student groups from being punished for how they select their members.

Flickr/Creative Commons

A family court judge in Kentucky is being told he has to decide whether to recuse himself in gay adoption requests on a case-by-case basis.

Family Court Judge W. Mitchell Nance, who serves Barren and Metcalfe counties, had asked the state’s Chief Justice to approve a new local rule that would allow him to review all adoption petitions once they are filed with the circuit court clerk.

Prior to making the request to the Chief Justice, Nance entered an order last month saying he wanted to be advised by lawyers if they were bringing cases involving gay adults to his courtroom.

Kentucky Judge is Under Pressure; Won't Hear Gay Adoptions

May 16, 2017
Kevin Willis

Civil rights groups are seeking the removal of a southern Kentucky judge who won't hear adoption cases involving gay adults.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups complained to Kentucky's judicial disciplinary commission about W. Mitchell Nance, a family court judge in Barren and Metcalfe counties.

Nance announced he would recuse himself from adoption cases involving homosexuals because he believes it's never in a child's best interest to be adopted by a gay person.

Gay rights advocate Chris Hartman says Nance's "inability to be impartial is a blight on his office."

Nance declined comment through a court official.

Martin Cothran, with the Family Foundation of Kentucky, said Nance is following the law by recusing himself if he believes his views might bias a case.

Lisa Autry

Supporters of what's known as a fairness ordinance will lobby the Bowling Green City Commission Tuesday evening. 

Members of the LGBT community and others will speak during a work session following the regular city commission meeting.  No action can be taken, but proponents will be allowed to address city leaders. 

The fairness measure would update the city’s civil rights ordinance to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.  A fairness ordinance would prevent discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. 

Commissioner Slim Nash introduced the ordinance during the commission’s February 21 meeting.  The motion wasn’t seconded and died without any discussion.

Lisa Autry

Bowling Green will not become the next Kentucky city to enact a fairness ordinance that would have banned discrimination against the LGBT community. 

The measure failed during a city commission meeting Tuesday afternoon. 

Supporters of the fairness ordinance chanted ‘shame’ when no other commissioner made a second motion to approve the proposed ordinance introduced by Commissioner Slim Nash. 

The measure would have extended civil rights protections to the LGBT community in areas such as housing and employment.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is warning Kentucky lawmakers against any legislation that could stymie economic interest in the state or its largest city.

He said the state legislature, now controlled by Republicans in the House and Senate for the first time in history, can “achieve anything they want.”

“Let’s make sure that nothing negative happens in our community, in our state, regarding our ability to discriminate against anyone,” he told WFPL News during an hour-long discussion last week.

Flickr/Creative Commons

A transgender man fired from GE Appliances in Louisville can sue for race and gender discrimination, according to a federal court ruling late last month.

China-based Qindao Haier Co., the owner of GE Appliances, requested that the lawsuit be dismissed, saying the company did nothing wrong and that the employee should have reported harassment to a supervisor.

Bevin Rules Out Transgender Bathroom Bill

Dec 9, 2016
Jaison Gardner

Kentucky's Republican governor says he will not use the state's new GOP majority to push through a bill restricting transgender bathroom use. Matt Bevin held a news conference Friday to discuss his first year in office and look ahead to the 2017 legislative session, where Republicans will hold super majorities in both chambers for the first time.

Rhonda J. Miller

A Bowling Green LGBT rights advocate told the Bowling Green City Commission Tuesday that it’s time to get in step with communities across the nation and pass a fairness ordinance.

Supporters want members of the LGBT community protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Western Kentucky University legal history expert Patricia Minter points to the Municipal Equality Index released Oct. 17 by the Human Rights Campaign.  The index rates LGBT inclusion in cities across the nation.

Bowling Green got a score of 17 out of a possible 100, the worst score of the eight Kentucky cities rated. Minter says that low HRC rating casts a shadow over the city in both human and business terms.

“HRC is a well-respected civil rights organization, and what we know is that Fortune 500 companies, S&P companies, companies that are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, all look at HRC indexes when they’re deciding where they’re going to relocate, where they will look for employees.”

WKU

Western Kentucky University is taking steps to create places where LGBT students will feel comfortable talking about gender and sexual identity.

Two Safe Zone trainings are being held Tuesday, Oct. 11.  

WKU counselor Brian Lee says the goal of the trainings is to educate employees, students, and community members about creating an environment that’s open and accepting toward LGBT individuals.

Ryland Barton

Lexington Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray says the Kentucky Farm Bureau should change its policies that oppose same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ issues.

“I think the Farm Bureau needs to adjust and adapt to the times, and that means adjusting their policies,” Gray said after wading through a crowd of pro-LGBTQ protesters outside the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s annual Ham Breakfast event in Louisville on Thursday morning.

A Democrat, Gray is openly gay and running against Republcian Sen. Rand Paul in his bid for reelection.

The Kentucky Fairness Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, has demonstrated outside of the annual event for years, opposing the Farm Bureau’s stances against same-sex marriage, domestic benefits for same-sex couples and abortion.

J. Tyler Frankin

Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration is suing the federal government to block a rule that says medical providers and insurance companies can’t discriminate against transgender patients. The states of Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas and Texas, along with religious provider groups, filed suit Tuesday.

The federal rule is intended to prevent health care providers from refusing care for transgender patients, and for insurers to do away with bans on covering gender reassignment services, including hormone therapy or surgery.

The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Texas, under the same judge who on Monday issued an injunction barring federal government agencies from taking action against school districts that don’t allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity rather than their sex at birth.

In a statement, Bevin said the rule was an infringement on Kentuckians’ constitutional rights.

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