REASON FOR CONCERN: Owensboro’s ‘Fairness Ordinance’

Written by Andrew Linn on August 11, 2014

On August 5, the Owensboro City Commission contemplated adopting a fairness ordinance which would ban discrimination in regards to sexual orientation and gender identity in Owensboro, Kentucky. The matter was brought forth by the Director of Owensboro’s Human Relations Commission, who told city officials that such an ordinance would make Owensboro more culturally diverse, thus resulting in greater economic development.

I am not exactly sure how a larger gay population would benefit Owensboro, Kentucky (population 58,083) in terms of economic growth. Soon afterwards, I received an email from Richard Nelson of the Commonwealth Policy Center. He had some questions regarding this ordinance, which are as follows:

— Why is this ordinance needed? How many documented cases of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) discrimination are there in Owensboro?
— Could it potentially punish business owners who refuse to materially [provide] through their products or services in gay weddings? (Note: the issue of same-sex marriages is still up in the air due to a federal ruling against a ban on same-sex marriages in Kentucky, despite the fact an amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman was approved by a majority of Kentuckians in 2004).
— Does this ordinance protect homosexual activity in the workplace? Does it protect cross-dressing in the workplace?

Richard Nelson then brought up several points to consider:
— There is no scientific consensus on how to define sexual orientation, and the various definitions proposed by experts produce substantially different groups of people.
— This ordinance drags private sexual behavior into the workplace. If employers shouldn’t ask about somebody’s private sex life and the prospective employee doesn’t bring this up, then how can an employer be held accountable for failing to hire somebody based on their sexual orientation?
— This law is subjective and easy to abuse. It puts employers at risk of liability. It could also punish employers who are publicly known for high moral standards in their workplace- think Chick fil-A and Hobby Lobby. They could become a target or test case for homosexual activists who push the envelope.
— If this ordinance is anything like a state law proposed earlier in the year it extended to “financial transactions to certain insurance sales.” Does this mean that sex change operations must be covered in insurance policies?
— What is gender identity protection?
— Sexual orientation and gender identity is subjective, self-disclosed, and self-defined. Unlike race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity are usually understood to include behaviors. Employer’s decisions to reasonably take into account the behavior of employees are core personnel decisions best left to businesses themselves, not the government.

Richard Nelson then asked for prayers and to take action (i.e. contacting religious and city leaders).

So far, the City Commission has not taken any action on this matter. Should they pass such an ordinance, Owensboro will be the eighth city in Kentucky to do so. It will also put Owensboro (and Kentucky) on a slippery-slope. Suppose pedophiles or polygamists call for an ordinance to protect them from discrimination? The next you know, necrophiliacs, people who engage in incest, and people who engage in bestiality will want similar ordinances. I should also point out that should Owensboro have an increase in the homosexual population, there will be health risks.

I have read about how San Francisco has plunged into moral decay. I do not want Owensboro to follow the same path.



Andrew Linn
Andrew Linn is a member of the Owensboro Tea Party and a former Field Representative for the Media Research Center. An ex-Democrat, he became a Republican one week after the 2008 Presidential Election. He has an M.A. in history from the University of Louisville, where he became a member of the Phi Alpha Theta historical honors society. He has also contributed to and Right Impulse Media.