Kentucky Legislative Session Ends, Defeating Anti-LGBT Legislation

By Adam Polaski • April 21, 2016 • 7:06 am

Last Friday, the legislative session in Kentucky drew to a close, without any anti-LGBT legislation becoming law, despite several bills being introduced and sometimes even moving forward. With the legislative session now complete for the year, it’s something to celebrate to reflect on the fact that in 2016, no anti-LGBT bills will move forward in Kentucky.


In March the Kentucky Senate advanced SB 180 – a harmful religious exemptions bill which allows for discrimination against LGBT people and undermines existing non-discrimination protections already on the books all across Kentucky, potentially voiding them.

But the response from businesses and organizations opposed to the legislation was swift: The president of the Greater Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau said the bill would cause economic harm to the state’s tourism industry, and a coalition of dozens of businesses spoke out against efforts to discriminate.

What’s more, the state moved past a long summer in the national spotlight (when one clerk refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples) by advancing a neutral LGBT bill. In April, senators in Kentucky unanimously approved a bill that will reiterate that only a single marriage license form – the same for same-sex couples and different-sex couples – is necessary. The movement was especially significant because just a few weeks ago, the same lawmakers approved Senate Bill 5, which sought to create separate marriage license forms for same-sex couples. The positive step forward for Kentucky was signed into law by Republican Governor Matt Bevin.

Now, it’s time to move forward and continue advancing LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections in the Bluegrass State. This year we saw unprecedented momentum – as a positive bill was introduced, for the first time ever, with bipartisan support. The bill, Senate Bill 176 – the Kentucky Competitive Workforce Act – would have added comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in the state, including protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Lawmakers should continue to push forward with this positive legislation.

Cheers to the Fairness Campaign, Kentucky’s statewide organization working to advance LGBT equality and fairness for all, and the ACLU of Kentucky, who have worked so hard this year to stave off bad bills and advance the positive step forward.




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