"We need to show that we have the inclusive and competitive atmosphere where they want to live, where they want to work, and where they want to raise their families." - State Senator Morgan McGarvey
The saga of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and her ill-fated quest for the "religious freedom" to discriminate against gay couples brought an overload of national attention to the state. From a business perspective, almost all of it was negative. Now, the Kentucky legislature is looking for ways to put Ms. Davis' antics behind them and try to improve the state's reputation, especially when it comes to commerce.
The Courier-Journal reports that Democratic State Senator Morgan McGarvey filed a bill yesterday that would add LGBT protections to the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, making it illegal to discriminate against LGBT workers. Senate Bill 176 is not the first attempt Kentucky Democrats have made to pass LGBT workplace protections, but it is the first bill of its kind to have a Republican co-sponsor, Louisville State Senator Julie Raque Adams.
Senate Bill 176 is also supported by almost 200 Kentucky employers from the Kentucky Competitive Workforce Coalition, all of whom have pledged to follow non-discriminatory policies. The coalition includes some of Kentucky's largest employers, as well as many small, locally owned companies, most of whom are concerned about the how Kentucky is perceived in the wake of the Kim Davis spectacle.
State Senator McGarvey told reporters that in order for Kentucky to attract and maintain a capable workforce, "we need to show that we have the inclusive and competitive atmosphere where they want to live, where they want to work, and where they want to raise their families."
A "fairness rally" in support of the bill, sponsored by the ACLU-Kentucky and the Fairness Coalition, is planned for the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 1:30 p.m.
State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, has filed a sister bill, H.B. 155, in the Kentucky State House.
Kim Davis' opinion was thankfully not solicited.
Feature Photo is from the ACLU Kentucky via Facebook
Kim Davis photo is from YouTube