Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Shame on Berea

Of all the small towns in Kentucky, the one with the history of defiant diversity, educating African-Americans against the law before the Civil War, the one with the national reputation for creativity and open-arms welcome to all, the one you would think would be eager to add LGBT residents to its non-discrimination law is Berea.

But no.  And good grief, the bullshit and lies.

Karla Ward at the Herald:

The Berea City Council on Tuesday rejected an ordinance that would have prohibited discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people in housing, employment and public accommodation.The measure failed on a vote of 5 to 3.

"I am absolutely for fairness and equality for all people, but I cannot support this ordinance," Councilwoman Violet Farmer said before the vote.

She said she feared expensive legal battles and situations in which "the city would be pitted against local businesses or individuals," and she questioned the need for "another protected class."


Councilwoman Diane Kerby, however, later said that "just because it's divisive doesn't mean we shouldn't bring it up."

"If there are any of us who do not have equal rights, that affects all of us," she said. "We're talking about basic human rights ... the right to earn a living and the right to have a place to live."

The council chambers at the Police and Municipal Building were filled to standing room only, and scores more filled a former service station next door to watch the deliberations via television.


"I really hope we can find a way to move on together, if the town is as special as we say we are," Councilman Virgil Burnside, who supported the ordinance, said after the vote was taken.
If the measure had passed, Berea would have been the eighth Kentucky city to adopt a fairness ordinance, joining Danville, Frankfort, Lexington, Louisville, Morehead, Covington and Vicco, in Perry County.

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