A look at Fairness ahead of the 3rd annual Bowling Green Pride Festival

Drag performers Dick Sterling, Scarlett Mascara, Lilly McQueen Fitzgerald, and Barbie Crash perform on stage at Circus Square Park for the second year for 2018 Pride Festival.

Michael J. Collins

A rally in support of adoption of a Fairness Ordinance in Bowling Green is set to occur this Saturday in conjunction with the Bowling Green Pride Festival.

Since the first Kentucky adoption in Louisville 20 years ago, Fairness Ordinances have been issued in over a dozen cities around the state, according to the Fairness Campaign website. The ordinances forbid firing or denying housing to someone on the basis of sexual orientation.

Within Bowling Green, the most recent action regarding a Fairness Ordinance occurred this past May, when a city commission decision struck down the proposal in a 3-2 vote. The tally saw Mayor Bruce Wilkerson and commissioners Joe Denning and Sue Parrigin in opposition to the proposal and commissioners Slim Nash and Dana Beasley-Brown in support.

“I’m pretty steadfast in the fact that yes, everybody needs to be treated fairly,” said nay voter Sue Parrigin to WKYU. “Although, I think that if we want to pass laws that say this has to happen in the workplace or in a legal contract for an apartment or a house or whatever you want to rent, that that needs to happen at the state level.”

State Rep. Patti Minter of district 20 is a founding member of the Bowling Green Fairness campaign and has been advocating for the ordinance since 1999. That year, following issuances in Louisville and Lexington, Minter addressed the issue in a letter to the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission, which then recommended passage of the Fairness Ordinance to the city commission.

“The city commission in 1999, unlike Louisville and Lexington, refused to act,” Minter said. “So in 2012, I was part of a group that decided to begin the push again.”

The Fairness Campaign would go on to successfully pass ordinances in 11 towns across the state. Bowling Green, however, remains the largest holdout to the policy.

“People are very supportive of the idea of Fairness,” Minter said. “We have well over 100 locally owned businesses that have signed up to be Fairness-supporting businesses, which says two things: You are supporting passage of the Fairness Ordinance and also saying that in your business practices, you support equal rights for LGBTQ people.”

News reporter Michael Collins can be reached at [email protected].

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated Lexington was the first Kentucky city to adopt a Fairness Ordinance. The error has since been corrected to read Louisville. The Herald regrets this error.