1st reading of fairness ordinance

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By Brad Bowman

One week after Morehead City Council adopted a fairness ordinance making it the sixth Kentucky city prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, Campbellsburg City Council had its first reading.

Mayor Rex Morgan gave Campbellsburg residents Punkin Burk and Shawn Golden three minutes each to share their views before the first reading.

“Before the second reading, I appreciate the opportunity to speak,” Golden said. “(I) just ask that you consider what that fairness act is actually saying and offering here. Not as a discrimination thing at all. What the fairness act is offering, or what it does, is simply gives additional rights to certain groups above the rights they already have. With that being said, I’d ask you to consider to not vote it in on those things —just on that alone. And there’s others (things) that we could go into regarding the biblical side of things, but just the political side of things that’s what it (the ordinance) offers.”

After asking the council about a leash law, Burk expressed her satisfaction with Morehead passing the fairness ordinance and her optimism for Campbellsburg.

“I am hoping all will vote for ours (ordinance) also and that is all I will say for the moment,” Burk said.

If the council adopts the ordinance, Campbellsburg would be the seventh Kentucky city with Frankfort, Lexington, Louisville, Morehead, Covington and Vicco to adopt the legislation.

What it provides

The fairness ordinance, written the same as the ordinance proposed in Pleasureville, would, “Promote equality and fairness, and further promote existing federal and state laws,” the ordinance states.

The ordinance would prohibit any individual or entity from discriminating based on religion, sexual orientation, age, race or national origin in the selling or leasing of real estate property and employment. The ordinance would not interfere with an employer’s enforcement of policy regarding dress code policy or shift protocol.

What it requires

To enforce the ordinance, the city of Campbellsburg would appoint a council member to receive complaints and require all complaints to be written out. The council member would determine if a violation of the ordinance occurred and have the authority to perform an investigation. If the council member finds, as the ordinance states, “…that a violation is more likely than not to have occurred,” the city council will have a hearing within 20 days of the determined violation. Both parties could have attorneys present and aid in the debate of their case before the council and would require a decision from the council in less than 10 days after the hearing.

Violation penalties

If the council finds a violation occurred, the first and second offense could cost between $100 and $250. A third or fourth offense would range from $250 to $500. If an individual or entity committed a fifth violation or more the penalty would be a minimum of $1,000 and possibly the revocation of license to conduct business in the city.

After the meeting, Golden emphasized his position against the fairness ordinance isn’t to discriminate against anyone, but that the ordinance isn’t fair at all.

“Age, race, gender — those things — and every single citizen falls under one of those already. I have documented proof where it becomes an unfair thing for local businesses,” Golden said. “In New Mexico a photographer refused to cover a same sex wedding. He was required by law—a judge—ordered him to take the pictures. What it comes down to me, it just kind of contradicts the actual title —the fairness act. Because they (gay rights advocates) are asking for additional rights and what that does is makes the playing field unfair. I would discuss my stance in detail. It will be perceived as a discrimination thing and it is not.”

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that photographers Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin’s refusal to cover the event violated discrimination state law. The Huguenins have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision based on free speech.

The Campbellburg City Council will have the second reading Monday, Jan. 20, 2014.