The head of Louisville’s Fairness Campaign says a recent challenge to Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage may bring more attention to the disparity in rights that exists in the state.
The Fairness Campaign has long fought to pass city and state-level laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and employment. Now, Louisville residents Michael De Leon and Greg Bourke have filed suit on Friday challenging Kentucky’s same-sex marriage ban.
Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman says he’s supportive of the lawsuit, but his organization wants basic rights to be granted as well.
“Talking about the marriage issue does afford the opportunity, as it grows in popularity, to display the disparity in rights in places like Kentucky where married couples from other states can get their federal marriage benefits, but they may be legally fired from their jobs, ejected from a restaurant or park or denied a place to live,” Hartman says.
Four cities in Kentucky have fairness laws: Louisville, Lexington, Covington and Vicco. The campaign continues to push for similar laws in other cities and in the state legislature.
A month ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, a move that granted federal benefits to married same-sex couples.
“There could be a legal pathway to same-gender marriage success in Kentucky,” Hartman says. “There’s certainly not a legislative one apparent right now. That’s why the Fairness Campaign and the Fairness Coalition will continue to focus the majority of its resources and focus on getting those simple anti-discrimination fairness protections passed in Kentucky.”