- Associated Press - Saturday, March 29, 2014

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Officials in Danville are preparing to consider an anti-discrimination proposal.

The Advocate-Messenger (http://bit.ly/1eKK9xz) reports the so-called fairness ordinance will have a first reading at the next City Commission meeting on April 14.

The proposal prohibits discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Commissioners must approve two readings of the proposal before it is adopted. If the measure is approved, Danville would join a half-dozen other cities that have passed similar measures.

City Attorney Stephen Dexter, who drafted the document with help from City Manager Ron Scott, said the document uses some material from other cities, but has been tailored to reflect the needs of Danville residents.

“The proposed ordinance creates a new chapter in the city of Danville Code of Ordinances titled Fair Housing, Public Accommodations and Employment,” said Dexter. “The proposed ordinance prohibits discrimination against persons in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, age, disability, gender identity and sexual orientation.”

The proposal includes some exemptions, such as for religious institutions due to the Kentucky Religious Freedom Act.

“Essentially what the freedom act says is if you hold a sincerely held religious belief, then anyone alleging a violation of this ordinance must prove that the state has a compelling interest and achieve that interest by the least restrictive means,” said Dexter. “And whether it’s in the ordinance or not, it’s the law. State law trumps city law.”

Complaints of discrimination would go to the city manager, who would attempt to resolve the matter through conciliation. If that failed, the complaint could be taken to the City Commission or to Circuit Court.

Only Mayor Bernie Hunstad opposed the ordinance and was the only person to vote against holding the first reading next month.

“It’s obvious that I don’t agree with this ordinance, but I do appreciate the excellent manner in which it was written and the work of Mr. Dexter,” Hunstad said.

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Information from: The (Danville, Ky.) Advocate-Messenger, http://www.centralkynews.com/amnews