Morehead Working Out Details of ‘Fairness Ordinance’

Morehead could soon become the sixth Kentucky city to adopt a “fairness ordinance,” which protects people from discrimination based on sexual preference or gender identity.

Mayor David Perkins says the Morehead City Council will likely hear the first reading of a proposed fairness ordinance next month.

The city’s attorney has been working with the Kentucky Human Rights Commission to finalize details of the law, he says.

But Perkins says he doesn’t expect too many challenges in crafting the ordinance.

“We initially started out with the ordinances that Vicco and Frankfort adopted and kind of blended those together. It really should be a simple ordinance. It’s not technically complicated,” Perkins says.

It’s important that Morehead’s fairness ordinance be a common sense measure that is easy to legislate and enforce, he says.

“The simpler things are, the better it is for anybody, John Doe, to understand. When you start piling on legalese then it becomes a quagmire. I’ve seen that happen in commercial contracts. So sometimes less is more,” says Perkins.

The ordinance would protect individuals in areas such as restaurants, employment and housing.

Five other Kentucky cities including Louisville and the state capitol of Frankfort have already passed similar ordinances. Vicco made national headlines this year when it became one of the smallest cities in the U.S. to adopt such a law. Covington and Lexington also have similar measures in place.

(Also, check out this video from the Colbert Report on Vicco.)

The Berea Human Rights Commission recommended passage of a fairness law to the city council this week. An ad hoc committee has now been formed to work on a draft ordinance, according to Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman.

Berea HRC chair Lisa Vaugh said they’ve received four discrimination complaints in the past year, according to The Richmond Register.

Hartman says there is at least one other community “moving swiftly” on a fairness ordinance, but details at this time can’t be discussed. He says other communities are also making “concrete steps towards their own fairness laws.”

According to census numbers, roughly 20 percent of Kentuckians live in a city that has a fairness ordinance.

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