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Owensboro's Fairness Ordinance

On August 5, the Owensboro City Commission contemplated adopting a fairness ordinance which would ban discrimination in the City of Owensboro in regards to sexual orientation and gender identity. The matter was brought up by the Director of Owensboro's Human Relations Commission, in an effort to make the city more culturally diverse (which the director believes will boost economic development).

It's unclear just how a larger gay population would benefit Owensboro economically. Meanwhile, Richard Nelson of the Commonwealth Policy Center has brought up some questions regarding this proposed ordinance, which are as follows:

  • Why is this ordinance needed? How many documented cases of sexual orientation or gender identity are there in Owensboro?
  • Could it potentially punish business owners who refuse to provide their products or services for gay weddings? (Note: the issue of same-sex marriages is still up in the air due to a federal judge ruling against a ban on same-sex marriages in Kentucky, despite the fact that an amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman was approved by a majority of Kentuckians in 2004).
  • Does this ordinance protect homosexual activity in the workplace? Does it protect cross-dressing in the workplace?

In addition, Richard Nelson brings up several points to consider:

  • There is no scientific consensus on how to define sexual orientation, and the various definitions proposed by experts produce substantially different groups of people.
  • This ordinance drags private sexual behavior into the workplace. If employers shouldn't ask about somebody's private sex life and the prospective employee doesn't bring this up, then how can an employer be held accountable for failing to hire somebody based on their sexual orientation?
  • This law is subjective and easy to abuse. It puts employers at risk of liability. It could also publish employers who are publicly known for high moral standards in their workplace- think Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby. They could become a target or test case for homosexual activists who push the envelope.
  • If this ordinance is anything like a state law proposed earlier in the year it extended to "financial transactions to certain insurance sales." Does this mean sex-change operations must be covered in insurance plans?
  • What is gender identity protection?
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity are subjective, self-disclosed, and self-defined. Unlike race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity are usually understood to include behaviors. Employer's decisions to reasonably take into account the behavior of employees are core personnel decisions best left o businesses themselves, not the government.

Richard Nelson also called for prayers and for everyone to contact their city leaders and religious leaders.

So far the City Commission has not taken any action on this proposed ordinance. Should they pass such an ordinance, Owensboro will become the eighth city in Kentucky to do so. It will also put Owensboro (and Kentucky) on a slippery-slope. Suppose polygamists and those who engage in necrophilia or bestiality call for an ordinance to protect them from discrimination. Then pedophiles and those who in incest will follow suit. It should also be noted that a larger gay population in Owensboro will result in an increase in AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.

San Francisco (which is virtually controlled by the gay population) has plunged into moral decay. Hopefully Owensboro will not embark on the same path.