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Op-Ed: Time for Newport to Act on Fairness Ordinance

 

The following op-ed is written by Jason Walter, a candidate in the 2020 election for Newport city commission. The op-ed follows the adoption of fairness ordinances, which extend legal protections to LGBT people, in Dayton, Bellevue, Highland Heights, and Fort Thomas in recent months. Covington adopted such legislation in 2003.

The City Manager of Newport, Tom Fromme, is nearing the completion of drafting the long-awaited fairness ordinance for Newport. The exact legislation will be out soon for review, and it is up to the city commissioners to approve at the March meeting. I am calling for our city commissioners to approve this legislation. 

Currently, eighteen municipalities in Kentucky have enacted various Fairness Ordinances. These ordinances generally prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This is critically needed as federal and state law only prohibit discrimination based upon race, national origin, religion, disability, gender, and familial status.

Currently it is legal for a landlord or employer to refuse to rent or hire you because of your sexuality. In my opinion, this is unconscionable.

We need to show the region what I know is true, Newport is an open and welcoming city that values everyone: black, white, gay, straight, rich, or poor. We need to make sure the door is open for all kinds of neighbors. 

This fairness ordinance not only protects some of our most vulnerable citizens from housing and job discrimination, but protects all of us from discrimination. I am calling for our current city commissioners to do the right thing. After all, it is never too late to do the right thing. It is time for Newport to join the ranks of municipalities that have decided that they will no longer allow this type of discrimination.  

Jason Walter is currently a candidate for Newport City Commissioner and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. He is currently a Senior Sales Manager for Keyence Corp and lives in Newport with his wife Michelle and son Harrison.