With a vote of 4-2 tonight, Midway, population 1,657, became the eighth Kentucky city to adopt a Fairness Ordinance, prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.
Led by first-term Mayor Grayson Vandergrift, four council members cast votes in favor of LGBT Fairness with two council members casting votes in opposition after brief debate. The decision comes just months after a council committee began working on the draft ordinance. In April, the council committee removed "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" (RFRA) language from the draft ordinance and the full city council held a public forum on the issue in early May. A dozen Midway residents spoke in favor of the proposed ordinance at the forum, while only one member of the community spoke in opposition.
Midway joins seven other Kentucky cities that have passed similar LGBT Fairness Ordinance, including Covington (2003), Danville (2014), the state capital Frankfort (2013), Lexington (1999), Louisville (1999), Morehead (2013), and the tiny Appalachian town of Vicco (2013). It becomes the second smallest city in Kentucky to adopt LGBT protections after Vicco, population 334, which was formerly the smallest city in America with Fairness.
"Midway has taken a bold step towards Fairness for all its residents tonight," shared Midway resident Cindy Batts. "Mayor Vandergrift reminded everyone of the alarming reality for most LGBT Kentuckians--they can still be legally fired from a job or denied housing or service if they are gay or transgender without state or federal civil rights protections. In Midway, that is now no longer the case."
The victory in Midway highlights the ongoing effort of the Fairness Coalition to pass a similar Statewide Fairness Law that would cover the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky, legislation which has been proposed more than 15 years. In 2014, Kentucky's Statewide Fairness Law received its first hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, which promised future discourse on the matter.
Photos via Wikipedia