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Berea Residents Debate Fairness Law at Public Forum

A number of residents gathered Tuesday night to sound off on a not-yet-drafted fairness ordinance being considered by the Berea City Council. The measure will extend civil rights protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered residents.In Kentucky, only Louisville, Lexington and Covington currently have laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing and employment.Several opponents came to the meeting, saying there are no examples of discrimination against LGBT residents and the law is a political agenda that extends "special rights" to certain groups.Louisville Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman says the public forum showed there is still discrimination against LGBT residents in parts of the state and the legislation is necessary."If there were no intolerance in Berea, anyone who says that was not at the meeting last night because there was plenty of hate, vitriol and intolerance being spewed in that meeting. There always is when these debates come up. We are not looking for special rights...we're looking for equal rights, we're looking for fairness," he says.The committee made up of three council members will hold two more public forums before deciding whether to bring the measure before the full city council.On WFPL's Here and Now, we interviewed Hartman about the fairness movement in Berea, other smaller cities and statewide.