Director, Commonwealth Policy Center


Commonwealth Policy Center Calls Bowling Green's Proposed Fairness Ordinance Dangerous 

Date: April 16, 2019

Contact: Richard Nelson (270) 719-1640


Bowling Green, KY—  A nonprofit Kentucky organization that advocates for religious freedom is raising concerns about a proposed ordinance that would elevate sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) to civil rights status in the city of Bowling Green. 


Richard Nelson, executive director of the Commonwealth Policy held a virtual town meeting for Bowling Green residents on Monday evening where he explained the dangers of sexual orientation and gender identity laws. "A 'Fairness' proposal sounds so good, so reasonable," Nelson said. "But similar ordinances have been used to coerce creative professionals to violate their consciences by conveying messages they disagree with. Not only is this unfair. It's dangerous."


Graphic artists, videographers, and bakers have been fined for refusing to provide their goods or services for homosexual weddings. "To be clear, we're not talking about declining service to an individual.  We're talking about creative professionals whose conscience forbids them from conveying messages they disagree with or servicing an event that has deep religious significance," Nelson said.  "When sexual orientation and gender identity becomes a protected status it is often used to override another's claim to religious freedom."


No cases of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination have been brought to the attention of the Bowling Green City Commission prompting Nelson to ask "If there is no discrimination going on, why is the ordinance needed?" Nelson contends that ordinances that punish business owners for believing in man/woman marriage only serve to divide the community.


If the proposal passes, it may eventually need to be rescinded due to a pending Kentucky Supreme Court case regarding the legality of Lexington's SOGI law.  Lexington print shop owner Blaine Adamson was found guilty of violating a local "Fairness" law because he declined to print a T-shirt order for a gay pride event. Adamson said the message violated his religious convictions and consequently ordered to go through "diversity" training by the Lexington Human Rights Commission. It cost Adamson several years of litigation, many sleepless nights, and over $500,000 in legal bills for his defense. 


Adamson's case is now before the Kentucky Supreme Court. "Is it really prudent for the Bowling Green City Commission to push ahead before hearing what the state court rules?" Nelson asked. "If the court strikes down the law, the city will be forced to act again."