Bob Padgett

Bob Padgett

Whereas, the Board of Commissioners of the City of Frankfort and the citizens of the City of Frankfort welcome diversity and believe that ll individuals in Frankfort should be treated fairly, and with respect and dignity;

Whereas, the Board of Commissioners of the City of Frankfort wishes to discourage discrimination against individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, age, disability, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation;

Whereas, the Board of Commissioner of the City of Frankfort strongly supports the treatment of all individuals with respect to dignity, regardless of an individual’s race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, age, disability, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation, including but not limited to the areas of housing, public accommodation and employment;

Now therefore be it ordained by the City of Frankfort Board of Commissioners that Chapter 96 of the City of Frankfort Code of Ordinances is hereby amended as follows.

These are the opening words to Ordinance No. 7, 2013 Series, whose final adoption on Aug. 29, 2013, proclaimed to the world that the government of the City of Frankfort would no longer stand idly by while the rights and dignity of its citizens were denied or abridged without legal recourse or consequence. Thus, Frankfort became the fifth of now 15 cities in the commonwealth to pass a Fairness Ordinance.

To equate the protection of the rights of minorities and populations of citizens who suffer discrimination in the everyday affairs of life with hate speech and undeserved special treatment is to misunderstand the purpose of governments. Non-dictatorial governments derive their power to govern from the willingness of all its citizens to subject themselves to the authority of that government. As such, it is an imperative and basic tenet of those governments to protect minorities and disadvantaged populace from the whims and affronts of the majority. To do otherwise is to risk the withdrawal of that authority by the people and to fall.

Fairness is the furtherance of a public purpose and does not conflict with a constitutional provision or statute as evidenced by the very words introducing the ordinance in Frankfort. To believe it is “a stand orchestrated by a few on behalf of a few” is to demonstrate both a lack of awareness of the numbers of persons affected by discrimination and the utter sense of betrayal and affront that discrimination causes its victims.

To portray as fact that “we don’t discriminate against gay people in Frankfort” and the ordinance was passed “without any demonstrated need for it” is a deliberate rebuke of the personal testimonies of the persons at the hearings leading up to passage of the ordinance. The testimony of which exposed those persons to risk to housing, employment and accommodation as they then lacked the protections which they have now been afforded.

To say that supporting Capital Pride “put City Hall effectively in a position of promoting hate speech” is a deaf denial of the very words of the accusatory commentary recently published in this paper ("Guest columnist: Not proud of Capital Pride Kentucky," Oct. 23). For it was that very commentary that was “abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.” The irony of such a position is apparent to all but those who similarly use the pretense of the offense of religious persecution to justify their prejudice and homophobia.

Being LGBTQ is an inherent characteristic of a person’s existence, not a choice made like joining the NRA or the Republican Party. Being LGBTQ does not mock religion or make someone a terrorist. Pride events do not promote sexual behavior or expose children to abusive language or action. Professions to the contrary are the arguments of persons whose minds are closed to any thinking but that which agrees with their own position. It is the thinking of persons who remain willfully ignorant of the benefits of diversity in the populations of their neighborhoods, cities and nations.

Capital Pride is not a revelry of sexual behavior. It is not an affront or infringement on anyone else’s rights or religion. It is simply a celebration of life. It is a blissful moment of time spent with friends and family who are supportive of one another regardless of their look, life or love. It is the opportunity for a brief time to not have to fear harassment, defend feelings or worry about threats to personal well-being.

Finally, as to the Frankfort Human Rights Commission, it was created by the passage of the Fairness Ordinance and charged to encourage fair treatment and equal opportunity for all persons, to promote mutual understanding and respect among all groups and to eliminate discrimination against and antagonism between groups and their members. It is a mighty task performed without staff or budget by a group of dedicated volunteers who labor without compensation or recognition. I know all these things to be true because I am privileged to be the current chairperson of the commission and a proud member of the Capital Pride Executive Committee.

Bob Padgett, of Frankfort, can be reached at bpadgett@frankfort.ky.gov.

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