Fairness in Shelbyville
The Shelbyville City Council is considering a proposed Fairness Ordinance presented on November 15 by the Shelby County KFTC chapter. Council members listened politely and without comment to presentations by chapter members Jane Elkin Thomas and Ann Ellerkamp, both residents of the city.
Thomas explained the plain meaning of the ordinance.
"This local anti-discrimination Fairness Ordinance would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on someone's actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity/expression,” she said.
She said that data shows the expanding support of simple anti-discrimination protection in Kentucky, and that the goal is a statewide Fairness Ordinance, but "we need communities to take the lead until that happens."
She also spoke movingly of what the ordinance would mean to her personally. "I support this ordinance because of two of my closest friends, who cannot publicly show their relationship for fear of losing their jobs."
Mayor Tom Hardesty thanked the members for the presentation and the information packets. "There is a lot of information here and I know the council members will want to take their time studying it. We will take this under consideration."
"While we hope the council members see the advantages of this ordinance now, we anticipate having to continue to encourage them to adopt it," said chapter member Leslie McBride, who drafted the ordinance. "This is just the first step. We will keep working to make fairness a reality in Shelby County. We're not going away."
Chris Hartman of the Fairness Campaign in Louisville gave the chapter substantial help with research and planning, including coordinating media coverage, putting informational packets together and providing "Another Kentuckian for Fairness" blue T-shirts for the two dozen chapter members and others who showed up at the council meeting to show their support for the ordinance.
WHAS-TV Channel 11 from Louisville and Joe Sonka of LEO Weekly covered the meeting and interviewed members afterward.