City commissioners vote against first reading of fairness ordinance

Community members listen as Grayson Hunt, of BG Fairness and the Black Lives Matter coalition, speak to the City Commissioners about a fairness ordinance on Tuesday March 7, 2017 at City Hall.

Emily DeLetter

People both in favor and against passing the Fairness Ordinance gathered Tuesday to share perspectives during the Bowling Green City Commission meeting at City Hall.  

They were present for a first reading for Ordinance 2019-12, which could add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, preventing discrimination in housing accommodations and employment, as well as discrimination in public accommodations. 

The ordinance was presented by City Commissioner Slim Nash, who yielded his time for speakers. Dozens of speakers, many of them for the ordinance, gave their support for its passing. 

Glasgow sophomore Jayden Thomas, who identifies as gay, said he didn’t feel a welcoming community until he began attending WKU. He said he came out in support of the fairness ordinance.

“Feeling accepted was monumental here,” Thomas said. 

Ryan Dearbone, president of the Bowling Green branch of the NAACP, expressed his support on behalf of the branch. 

Bowling Green resident Kevin Norris said he came to City Hall in support of the fairness ordinance because it was “the right thing to do.” 

After a few hours of debate, the first reading failed to pass following a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Nash and Dana Beasley-Brown voted in favor, with Commissioners Sue Parragin, Joe Denning and Mayor Bruce Wilkerson voting against. 

Assistant News Editor Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emilydeletter.