The Danville City Commission approved the first reading of an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance May 12, the Lexington Herald-Leader is reporting. The vote was 4-1.
The ordinance would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
If the ordinance is approved, Sunrise Children’s Services — a foster care facility in Danville affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention — has threatened a legal challenge. The organization bills itself as “a home for children who have been abused and neglected,” citing the 15,000 children annually who are abused in Kentucky.
While I’m not one to normally scream, “Think of the children!” when it comes to LGBT issues, but really Sunrise Children’s Services needs to think of the children. Waging war on homosexuals should definitely not be their goal, especially at the expense of children in need.
Sunrise Children’s Services, which employs 50 people at its Woodlawn campus in Danville, is prepared to move elsewhere if they lose their lawsuit. Another affiliated facility moved to Bullitt County after Jefferson County passed a fairness ordinance in 1999.
“I don’t say that to make a threat, but I say that to make you aware that that is what has to happen,” said John Sheller, an attorney for Sunrise Children’s Services. He argues that the city commission was exceeding its authority by including classes of people that are not recognized by state anti-discrimination laws.
Sheller called the ordinance an “existential threat” to the Woodlawn campus. He said the lawsuit has been prepared and copies were in the commissioners’ information packets at the time of the vote.
The ordinance has a religious exemption, but it does not apply to “institutions and organizations receiving the majority of its annual funding from any federal, state or local government body or agency, or any combination thereof.”
Approximately 80 percent of Sunrise Children’s Services statewide revenue comes from state and federal governments, and local Baptist congregations make up the rest.
The commission must approve a second reading before the ordinance is enacted, which is scheduled May 27. The ordinance becomes law once it is published in the local newspaper.
Danville Mayor Bernie Hunstad has said the ordinance is unnecessary because there are laws that protect people from discrimination. He said at the April 14 commission meeting that there was “no conclusive evidence that we have this problem in our community. … There’s no evidence that anyone has been damaged here.”
Tom Lane, pastor of Cornerstone Assembly of God, urged the commission not to approve the ordinance because it would “wield a club of intimidation against Christian business owners.” His church also included these charming handouts in the Sunday bulletin:
Image source: Back2Stonewall.com
Seriously, using God as a bully is not cute.
If the ordinance is approved, Danville would become the seventh Kentucky city to have a fairness ordinance, behind Lexington, Louisville, Covington, Frankfort, Morehead and Vicco in Perry County. Currently, there are no state-wide protections. All of this is illustrated in the map below from Wikipedia:
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