Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Coming to a Commonwealth city near you is the eventual clash of sexual orientation and religious expression.

The Commonwealth’s capital, Frankfort, became the fifth city in Kentucky to pass a “Fairness Ordinance.” Conveniently self-titled, Fairness Ordinances are non-discrimination bills that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill’s passage comes after an intense lobbying campaign by Kentucky’s homosexual community.

Frankfort becomes the fifth city after Louisville, Lexington, Covington, and Vicco municipalities have passed similar provisions. Henderson passed a Fairness Ordinance in 1999 that was later rescinded.

The gay rights crowd hails the passage of such bills as a step for civil rights. But such bills have the unintended effect of causing a showdown between religious freedom and homosexuality and transgenderism. What some hail as a victory is little more than a subtle maneuvering to use municipal law to bully religious expression and ensconce a particular moral code.

Kentucky’s faith community has just cause to be troubled about the bill’s passage.  In August, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against a Christian photographer who refused to lend her services to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. The Supreme Court’s ruling was particularly troubling as the consequence of their ruling ensures that religious expression is subordinated, or made inferior, to gay rights.

In Oregon, a Christian-owned bakery is closing its doors as threats of civil suits are mounted after accusation of discrimination. And similar cases are happening in Denver and Washington State. Fairness Ordinances have been wielded against Hands on Originals , a Christian-owned t-shirt company that refused to print a t-shirt for a gay pride parade in Lexington. 

Fairness Ordinances aren’t about creating fairness. Such bills are created to cement homosexuality as protected status in municipal law, routing religious freedom in the process.  Frankfort passes this bill at its own risk.