Nondiscrimination Ordinance forum set for Thursday in Daviess County

Local News

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Tomorrow, the long debated Nondiscrimination Ordinance, also known as the Fairness Ordinance, in Daviess County will be back up for debate.

The Daviess County Fiscal Court will have the first of two public forums Thursday night at OCTC.

Blandford Hall at OCTC is the scene of classes and community events most days. But tomorrow, the proposed non-discrimination ordinance will be back on stage.

“We want this to be about Daviess County residents, not people from outside the community because it simply has to do with Daviess County residents,” said Daviess Co. Judge Executive Al Mattingly.

The ordinance is designed to extends protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, race and religion. It focuses on housing, public accommodations and employment. Mattingly says minor changes were made, including the definition of small business, time allowed to file a discrimination complaint and language that could leave room for future discrimination was removed. The ordinance was based off a similar one approved in Georgetown, Kentucky. The forums follow several fiscal court meetings last year, where hundreds packed the county courthouse to debate it.

“We have a capacity to seat 100 people there. We had a 100 people in there and 180 in the hallway and it was chaos,” he recalled.

“Everyone’s been pretty calm throughout the whole thing,” says Deanna Smith of the Owensboro Fairness Campaign. She also says she’s met with pastors ahead of tomorrow’s meeting to make sure the meeting stays civil.

“We wish to work together. And we do not agree to anyone to get up there to spew any hatred, whether they are for or against the ordinance,” says Smith.

Smith says if it doesn’t pass this time, they could bring it to the Owensboro City Commission, or wait until after the next fiscal court elections in two years to bring it back to county officials.

Another forum is scheduled for February 24th at Brescia University.

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(This story was originally published on January 29, 2020)

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