DAVIESS CO., Ky. (WFIE) - We are hearing from an elected official on the draft of a non-discrimination ordinance.
The law, if approved, would help protect members of the LGBTQ community, but not all county leaders are on board.
Organizers tell us this was about creating conversations. They have certainly been met with lots of opposition and by providing a question and answer segment they were hoping to clear up any misconceptions.
Met by applause from the crowd, Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly was one of a few people on this panel. He told the crowd that he, along with others, were elected to do things for the community.
But other county commissioners have said they won’t support it. Mattingly, however, says despite being a devout Catholic, laws cannot be made based on faith and the two must be separated.
“You can’t discriminate against me I’m a man, or against my wife because she’s a female," Mattingly explains. "You can’t say, ‘you’re a man and I don’t rent to men. You’re a female and I don’t sell to females.' You can’t do that. Those are the protections. And isn’t that all the gay community is asking?”
Members of the Owensboro Fairness Campaign group say it’s a push to protect people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Other cities in Kentucky have similar fairness ordinances.
A few of those include Henderson, Lexington, and Paducah.
Mattingly was joined on the panel by Joan Hoffman, who was the Henderson Mayor when the first fairness ordinance was passed there in 1999, among others.
The floor was opened to field a few questions.
Question: Al, how are you going to help us pass what should be passed?
“I can only go so far; I can’t turn somebody’s mind," Mattingly responded. "I can nudge a little bit, but this is something you’ve got to do. You’ve got to fight the fight and walk the walk. It’s a road that is your own. I’m happy to stand there and encourage you and I’ll do what I can.”
Organizers say part of the panel was reserved for people opposed, but they didn’t show up.
There are currently at least 14 cities across Kentucky with a fairness ordinance.
Mattingly also said he received six or seven handwritten letters Thursday from people in the community affected by discrimination.
At this time, the ordinance is in draft form only. It won’t be scheduled for a vote until the commissioners and the people of Daviess County have had ample time to review and revise it.