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Official Stance Against HB 279 Adopted by Covington

"This bill is bad for Kentuckians," said Shawn Masters, the former Covington city commissioner and leader of the newly launched Northern Kentucky Democratic League.

Masters spoke in favor of the City of Covington's official opposition to Kentucky House Bill 279, known as the Religious Freedom Bill, a piece of legislation that critics argue allows discrimination against groups like gays based on religious preferences. 

"I'm disappointed that lawmakers can find time to draft such erroneous legislation," Masters said. "It's an affront to those of us who have fought for decades to make sure all Kentuckians are treated fairly."

"It's a Pandora's box," said Candace Witte, of Licking Riverside. "It does affect everyone in this room and their families."

The commission passed the resolution opposing HB 279 unanimously. It reads simply, "An order/resolution opposing Kentucky House Bill 279, also known as the Religious Freedom bill and reaffirming Covington's commitment for its human rights ordinance."

"I don't know how anyone can be against promoting civil rights for everyone in the United States of America," said city commissioner Steve Frank.

Covington adopted a human rights ordinance in 2003 that extends protections to gays and lesbians. The bill in question has passed both the Kentucky House of Representatives and Senate and is waiting to be signed by Governor Steve Beshear.

On Wednesday, supporters and opponents of the bill rallied to pull Gov. Beshear to their side, WDRB reports. Previously, it was reported that some of the concerns over the bill lack evidence.

Gov. Beshear has previously said he is unsure if he will veto the bill. After initially supporting it, Covington Democratic State Rep. Arnold Simpson reversed course and changed his vote, officially opposing the bill.


Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Members of the Fairness Alliance rally against HB 279 in Frankfort on Wednesday/via Facebook