Tiny Appalachian city enacts gay rights ordinance

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A tiny city in southeastern Kentucky has enacted an LGBT rights ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The city commission of Vicco in southern Perry County passed the new law on Jan. 14. The population, according to the last census, is 334 people.

A statement from the Fairness Coalition, an affiliation of Kentucky groups that focuses on gay rights, says the Appalachian town is the fourth city in the state to pass a law aimed at protecting gays from discrimination.

Three of four commissioners voted in favor of the ordinance, which bans discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations in the city.

City attorney Eric Ashley says the community believes all people should be treated fairly.

The Fairness Coalition says Louisville, Lexington and Covington have passed similar anti-discrimination ordinances.

Meanwhile, an effort to pass an LGBT civil rights law at the state level has stalled in Kentucky House of Representatives.

“The commonwealth of Kentucky was the first state south of the Mason-Dixon line to pass a civil rights act, the Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966,” stated Kentucky Equality Federation president Jordan Palmer. “The Kentucky Civil Rights Act was signed into law by Gov. Edward T. Breathitt, and prohibits discrimination and protects people from discrimination based on race, national origin, color and religion.”

Since then, the civil rights law has been amended and expanded, but repeated efforts to include sexual orientation and gender identity failed.

Palmer said, “I urge the commonwealth’s lawmakers to willfully place Kentucky back in the forefront of civil rights… .If our lawmakers want to show Kentucky sovereignty and freedom, do it now before the order to do so is handed down by the courts.”