Paducah leaders vote to protect LGBT people from discrimination

PADUCAH – Some are calling Tuesday night a historic one for Paducah. The City Commission voted to add protection laws for LGBT people in changes to the city’s Human Rights Commission ordinance.

The vote was 4 yes to 1 no. It happened around 8:30 p.m. at Paducah City Hall.

I have never before seen as much support or as much concern over an issue at a Paducah City Commission meeting. Half of the room cheered, and half of the room left disappointed. City Hall was so packed that many people had to listen from the lobby.

We listened to more than 40 minutes of people saying why they’re for and against the change.

Nathan Yancy argued the ordinance was about “treating people fairly, treating people with respect and letting them know that they matter in our community.”

It left some on the defensive about their faith. Thomas Berry is against the measure because he says “we’ve seen many cases where sexual orientation and gender identity are upgraded to civil rights and it ends up punishing business owners.” Berry also doesn’t see an immediate need for the change, adding “one of the things I truly love about this city is there is not civil unrest. I’ve not seen issues in the local court system where this is an issue.”

Commissioner Sarah Stewart Holland addressed the non-issue assertion by saying she “wan’t comfortable saying well, because we’ve had no complaint there’s not a problem. There would be no reason to come to the Human Rights Commission with a LGBTQ complaint because they have no jurisdiction over that issue.” She’s referring to city policy prior to the vote, which gave no specific protections to that community.

A former deacon, Dan Patterson, ended his remarks supporting the measure Tuesday by saying “I know Christians here sincerely believe your ideas, but remember some people’s privileges turn into other’s oppression.”

Richard Abraham, the only no vote proposed an amendment Tuesday which would exclude business owners from participating in something that went against their convictions. That would include things like cake decorators and florists. It was struck down 4 to 1.


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