New LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill Filed in Kentucky with Bipartisan Support

By Adam Polaski • February 16, 2016 • 11:29 am

This week, lawmakers in Kentucky introduced new legislation seeking to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Kentucky from discrimination – and for the first time, according to Kentucky’s statewide LGBT organization the Fairness Campaign, the legislation has bipartisan support, signaling a step forward.

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The bill, Senate Bill 176 – the Kentucky Competitive Workforce Act – would add comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in the state, including protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Similar legislation, H.B. 155, has been filed in the house.

The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Morgan McGarvey, with co-sponsorship from Julie Raque Adams (a Republican), and Democrats Perry Clark, Denise Harper Angel, Gerald Neal, and Reginald Thomas.

Sen. McGarvey said this week:

“We need to show that we have the inclusive and competitive atmosphere where they want to live, where they want to work, and where they want to raise their families.”

Last summer, Kentucky made national headlines because of the actions of one county clerk, Kim Davis, who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling enacting the freedom to marry nationwide. The decision prompted widespread outrage, with a supermajority of Americans (74%) agreeing that treating everyone equally under the law takes precedence over one’s religious beliefs.

Hundreds of businesses large and small across Kentucky support the Kentucky Competitive Workforce Act.

This latest introduction again conveys the clear, growing momentum in states across the country to embrace LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination. In dozens of states, lawmakers are considering legislation – because they know that to attract talented workers, spur entrepreneurial innovation, recruit investment, and build a thriving travel and tourism industry, every state needs to welcome all people and treat everyone fairly.


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