WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — In the City of Versailles, people can be denied service at restaurant, a job from an employer, or housing if the clerk believes the customer is gay.
Tuesday at the City Council meeting, members heard a second reading of a fairness ordinance that would change the way businesses interact with customers they think are part of the LGBTQ community.
"Unfortunately the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not include us. So that's what we're doing!" explained Woodford County Fairness Coalition representative Steve Osborne.
He explained: "As it stands right now, let's say that we got to a restaurant and the proprietor decides upon looking at us that we may be gay, he or she could deny us service based on that only. Same thing with housing, same thing with job interviews."
Osborne said there are only about a dozen cities in the state of Kentucky with an anti-discrimination fairness ordinance. Thirteen other Kentucky cities have adopted local Fairness Ordinances, covering nearly thirty percent of the state's population—Louisville (1999), Lexington (1999), Covington (2003), Vicco (2013), Frankfort (2013), Morehead (2013), Danville (2014), Midway (2015), Paducah (2018), Maysville (2018), Henderson (2019), Dayton (2019), and Georgetown.
The Woodford County Fairness Coalition had been pushing for change for the past six years.
"It would mean they would be treated like equally. Like everyone else in the ... city," said Osborne. "And the protections would be in place to prevent discrimination."
Given the lack of Kentucky cities with an ordinance of this kind, Osborne said the fight for change will continue.
"We've gotten two passed, we still have Woodford County to go. But I think we're going to take a little break, a little breather and collect our thoughts. And see where we can improve on getting it done sooner than six years," Osborne said.
Tuesday at Versailles City Hall, the council voted in favor of the ordinance 3-2.
Ken Kerkhoff is one of two councilmen who voted against the ordinance.
"I've had nobody that's voted for me, ask me to support such resolution. It's not fair to everybody, in my opinion. It's unfortunate that people are treated unfairly. But an ordinance or a law that requires people to do something against their beliefs, is just not fair to them," Kerkhoff said.