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Fairness Rally Fills State Capitol Rotunda

Josh James

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

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.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.