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The Northerner

Alliance to lobby gay rights in Frankfort

Jennifer Edwards and Jennifer Edwards

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The Kentucky Fairness Alliance will gather in Frankfort Feb. 22 for an organized day of gay-rights-support called “Kentuckians Value Fairness.”

Wes Wright, community organizer and legislative liaison for the Kentucky Fairness Alliance and a 1984 graduate of NKU will be leading the protests of House Bill 215, dubbed the Anti-Fairness Bill by the alliance. The alliance has helped draft a Statewide Fairness Law that will provide the gay community with equal rights. Wright said all of the issues would have a direct impact on gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual students at Northern Kentucky University.

According to the Kentucky Fairness Alliance’s Web site, the group opposes the House Bill 215 because it would repeal current city ordinances in several Kentucky cities, including Covington, that protect sexual orientation and gender identity as human rights issues. This bill also prevents other cities from enacting local ordinances to protect GLBT citizens from discrimination.

However, the Kentucky Fairness Alliance is lobbying for the Statewide Fairness Law to become a bill, which would support gay rights. He said Kentucky currently lacks a law that protects GLBT from discrimination. But if a statewide law passed, sexual identity and gender identity would be included under human rights protection in the state. All Kentuckians would then have protection against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit, according to Wright.

“Kentuckians Value Fairness” provides citizens who support anti-discrimination laws the opportunity to voice their opinions to state legislators. The Kentucky Fairness Alliance will also provide a course on lobbying Feb. 22 that Wright said will help individuals express themselves to officials. He has had experience lobbying for gay rights in Kentucky’s capital in previous years and considers it a tough challenge.

Lobbying isn’t the only way this organization works toward equality for GLBT; the Northern Kentucky chapter has set up a booth at Oktoberfest in Covington, walked in the Pride Parade and set up a booth during Common Ground’s Coming Out Day on NKU’s campus.

A few members of Common Ground also plan to attend “Kentuckians Value Fairness” Feb. 22, according to Will Jordan, NKU Common Ground treasurer and sophomore business administration major.

“As a gay man, I think people who possess the skills to work for equal rights are obligated,” Wright said. “It’s our quality of life that’s at stake and getting involved is the only choice to make. I wouldn’t feel right sitting on the sidelines.”

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Alliance to lobby gay rights in Frankfort