Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Kentucky Tug-of-War: A Series of Pro-Gay Decisions in the Bluegrass State Bodes Well for Gay and Lesbian Employees and Brings on the Usual Backlash. (Equality)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Kentucky Tug-of-War: A Series of Pro-Gay Decisions in the Bluegrass State Bodes Well for Gay and Lesbian Employees and Brings on the Usual Backlash. (Equality)

Article excerpt

Is Kentucky becoming a model for pro-gay change in the South? In light of the firestorm over the formation of a gay-straight alliance at Boyd County High School in Cannonsburg, several recent pro-gay actions by state leaders have turned more than a few heads. And the effect could be far-reaching.

Kentucky's Democratic governor, Paul Patton, signed an executive order on May 28 banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in state government offices. The order covers more than 30,000 state employees. According to the national gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, Kentucky is the 23rd state to offer its employees protection from sexual orientation-based discrimination and only the eighth to address the issue of gender identity bias in the public or private sectors.

"Basically the governor has put the imprimatur of the state on the notion that we will not discriminate," said Democratic state senator Ernesto Scorsone, who first suggested the move to Patton. "That's very powerful."

Patton's decision comes one month after the Covington city commission voted unanimously, on April 29, to amend the city charter to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment and housing. …

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