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Midway Fairness Ordinance Set For Second Reading

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Midway could soon join the growing list of Kentucky cities adding fairness ordinances to their books. The proposal under consideration does not contain controversial “religious freedom” language suggested in an earlier amendment.

Last month Midway city leaders dropped a proposed addition that could have permitted business owners to turn away customers because of “sincerely-held” religious beliefs. But even without that provision, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift says the ordinance is hardly one size fits all.

"If you add it all together it's about four pages of exemptions, so it's not as intrusive of an ordinance as some opponents have made it out to be," he says.

But critics are raising many of the same concerns that have surfaced during similar debates in other Kentucky communities. In a recent op-ed, Commonwealth Policy Center executive director Richard Nelson calls the ordinance a “proposed law in search of a problem.”

If passed as written, the measure would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity while allowing exemptions for religious institutions, charitable organizations run by those institutions, and businesses with fewer than ten employees, among others.

The Midway city council is expected to vote on the ordinance June 1.

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