Fairness Rally Fills State Capitol Rotunda

Feb 19, 2014

LGBT advocates sent chants of “Fairness!” through the state Capitol Wednesday.

LGBT supporters rallied at the Capitol Wednesday
LGBT supporters rallied at the Capitol Wednesday
Credit Josh James / WUKY

The event, organized by the Kentucky Fairness Coalition, was meant to generate more momentum for a pair of bills in the House and Senate that seek to add discrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity to state law.

Energized by a top Democrat’s recent co-sponsorship of a House bill adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of state anti-discrimination protections, hundreds of LGBT advocates listened to lawmakers and supporters call on the legislature to act.

"No one who is a member of the LGBT community should have fear of going into a restaurant or going into a hotel or just going to buy a pair of clothing and fear reprisal," said Fayette Sen. Reggie Thomas.

News of House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s co-sponsorship of the House bill has raised hopes that the issue could gain traction, but the top Democrat says the support may not be there yet.

"When I voted against Sheldon Baugh's bill on recognizing same-sex marriages in 1998 I believe there were eight of us. Today I'd say that number would have been increased. I doubt that it's in the majority yet to stop that legislation or to pass fairness legislation," Stumbo told reporters Tuesday.

A companion bill sponsored by Sen. Morgan McGarvey has been introduced in the Senate.