Press Releases

Paducah City Commission Considers Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Language
Date: December 19, 2017
Contact: Richard Nelson (270) 271-2713


Paducah, KY—  A Kentucky organization that advocates for religious freedom is asking the Paducah City Commission to drop sexual orientation and gender identity language from its proposed revision of the human rights ordinance. Richard Nelson, executive director of the Commonwealth Policy told Greg Dunker on his Tuesday morning radio program that the ordinance isn't needed. 
"How many documented cases of this kind of discrimination are going on in Paducah?" Nelson asked. "If there is no discrimination going on, why is the language needed?" Nelson points out that including sexual orientation and gender identity into local human rights laws is often used to coerce and bully those run their business according to their religious principles.
Bakers, florists and photographers have been fined and some threatened with jail time for refusing to provide their goods or services for homosexual weddings. "To be clear, we're not talking about declining service to an individual," Nelson said. "We're talking about an event that many believe to have religious significance." He added that "nobody is for unjust discrimination, but what about the unjustly punishing business owners for their deeply held religious convictions?"


Governor Beshear wrong to issue ultimatum to county clerk over marriage licensing July 9, 2015

Governor Beshear wrong to issue ultimatum to county clerk over marriage licensing
DATE: July 9, 2015
CONTACT: Richard Nelson (270) 271-2713

(Cadiz, KY) Earlier today, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear ordered Casey County Clerk Casey Davis to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples including same-sex couples or resign from office.

Commonwealth Policy Center Executive Director Richard Nelson said the ultimatum was alarming on a number of levels. “The Governor’s order is out of step with a current state statute that protects religious freedom," Nelson said. “Perhaps he forgot that his veto of the Religious Freedom Act of 2013 was overridden. The law is on the books and he needs to follow it.”

“This conflict is unnecessary and could have been avoided if the governor would have followed existing law--law that is controlling in this situation,” Nelson said. The act says the “government shall not substantially burden a person's freedom of religion.” and if there is another way to carry out a compelling government interest, it must be done in the “least restrictive means to further that interest.” 

Davis is calling for the state to set up an online marriage registry which would indeed further the government’s interest in the least restrictive means. Nearly half of the Kentucky County Court Clerks signed a petition for a special session where such legislation could be crafted to protect their conscience rights as well. 

Beshear's demand is also contrary to the Commonwealth’s constitutional protections of religious freedom according to Nelson. Section Five says ”No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.” “It’s strong language,” Nelson said. “and it would appear to apply to the governor.

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