On the heels of a statewide push for Kentucky to its protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens, one of the smallest towns in the commonwealth has just approved a new nondiscrimination law which does exactly that.
A week ago, the Fairness Coalition joined Vicco, Ky. -- home to some 334 residents in total -- as they passed the commonwealth’s first LGBT fair treatment ordinance in a decade, reports Lex 18. Vicco is now being touted by a number of media outlets as the smallest town in America to adopt an anti-discrimination law based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The law prevents discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based upon a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. The Advocate reports that Mayor Johnny Cummings supported the fair shake along with three out of the four members of the Appalachian’s commission.
Vicco became the fourth city in Kentucky to pass the equality bearing law. In 1999, Lexington and Louisville both approved such laws, followed by Covington in 2003, LGBTQ Nation reported.
“Vicco is a community that believes all folks should be treated fairly,“ attorney Eric Ashley said in a Fairness Coalition press release sent to HuffPost Gay Voices. “We believe everyone deserves the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Fairness is a Kentucky value, a Vicco value, and one of our most American values.”
Last October, the acquittal of the first-ever federal prosecution of a hate crime, which took place in Harlan County, Ky., left many baffled. Four cousins were accused of attacking Kevin Pennington, a 28-year-old gay man, because of his sexual orientation and possibly because of their own self-hatred.
Though the case had been nationally touted as the first to be prosecuted under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (signed by President Barack Obama in 2009), it was eventually deemed a drug deal gone wrong. While the men were convicted of kidnapping and conspiracy charges, the jury ultimately rejected the theory that hatred had motivated their crimes.
Perhaps the sentiments of Vicco’s new law will echo in the minds of Kentucky lawmakers while the KEF continues to run its petition to alter the commonwealth’s Civil Rights Act of 1966, amending it to include protection for all LGBT Kentucky residents.