FRANKFORT, Ky. — Frankfort’s city commission has passed an ordinance prohibiting housing, employment and public accommodation discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The state capital is the fifth Kentucky city to adopt such an ordinance. The others are Louisville, Lexington, Covington and Vicco in Perry County.
The ordinance, approved by a vote of 3-2, provides exemptions for religious institutions and in hiring for businesses with fewer than eight employees, though such businesses cannot deny services to customers based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
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In the months leading up to Thursday’s vote, the ordinance had undergone several amendments and public hearings, many of which had been marked by rancor and contentious debate.
According to the The State Journal, the ordinance became locally notable for its split of progressive and conservative religious leaders, particularly Baptist ministers, who often spoke at meetings.
The Rev. Wade Hughes of West Frankfort Church of God cited Bible passages in asking commissioners not to pass the measure.
Ordinance supporters wearing blue “Another Kentuckian for Fairness” T-shirts became staples at commission meetings. Opponents also regularly appeared, many arguing the ordinance would further reverse discrimination against Christians who disagree with homosexuality.
Frankfort resident Christina Libby urged passage and said the ordinance doesn’t require anyone to celebrate homosexuality but not to discriminate.