Pride weekend celebrates progress, struggles of LGBT community - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Pride festivities celebrate accomplishments, struggles of LGBT equality movement

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Dan Canon Dan Canon
Dan Hartman Dan Hartman

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - From same-sex marriages performed in other states being recognized in the state of Kentucky as of February to the Presbyterian Church changing its constitution to allow pastors to perform authorized same-sex marriages Thursday, local advocates are pleased with how the quest for LGBT equality is progressing.

"The progress is almost unfathomable," said Chris Hartman, Fairness Campaign director. "Just this morning, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer signed on to Mayors for the Freedom to Marry."

"Same sex marriage is fully recognized in 19 states," said Dan Canon, a civil rights attorney with Clay Daniel Walton Adams, PLC. "This is something that would have been unthinkable two years ago."

While Canon had helped win battles in the fight for Kentuckiana marriage equality, Hartman had been helping secure equal anti-discrimination rights.

"The first cases were filed in March. There are now, I believe, five separate cases asking Indiana to recognize marriage equality in some way, shape or form," said Canon.

"We've worked to pass laws in seven Kentucky cities," said Hartman. "Danville just recently passed a fairness ordinance this month."

While that progress is being celebrated by many in the LGBT community, both Hartman and Canon said there is still work to be done. Pending challenges range from fighting Governor Beshear's appeal to the landmark Kentucky same-sex marriage ruling to calling on others to join in the equal rights movement.

"In Kentucky specifically we saw no progress for decades up until last February when Judge Heyburn issued a landmark ruling that basically forces the Commonwealth of Kentucky to recognize valid same-sex marriages that were performed in other states," said Canon. "Attorney General Conway decided not to appeal that ruling. Governor Beshear decided to appeal it. It is currently pending before the 6th circuit court of appeals and we are going up in August to argue that in Cincinnati."

"I think we'll see the freedom to marry soon but it's going to take a little while longer to get those anti-discrimination protections. Folks will still be vulnerable to lose their jobs just for being LGBT even if we get marriage rights. So the work of the fairness campaign will continue across all of Kentucky," said Hartman. "It's so important to have these events so that we bring the dialogue out into the public and largely that we get out straight allies to understand that there's so much work to be done."

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