Rejecting fairness ordinance leaves us behind

I am disappointed by the reported positions of Daviess County Fiscal Court Commissioners Castlen, Wathen and Koger on the fairness ordinance being drafted for their consideration. Fourteen Kentucky cities have passed a fairness ordinance, and they report it's been good for business. Since Owensboro's growth stalled in the 1970s and dropped a bit in the 1980s, our local governments, chamber of commerce, economic development corporation, colleges, business owners and entrepreneurs have worked hard to stop the economic and population decline experienced by half of Kentucky's counties.

Our county commissioners surely know their phone counts come from a vocal minority who would have an undue impact on public policy and keep our community in a past that young people reject. I encourage our commissioners to assess the age and background of those objecting to a fairness ordinance. Are they the men and women who work together year in and year out to keep our economy healthy? Are they stepping into leadership roles to improve our economic well being in the years ahead? Or are they voters Commissioner Koger counts on for his re-election campaign and Commissioners Castlen and Wathen want for their campaigns for the judge-executive race next year?

Fairness ordinances have been enacted in Louisville (1999), Lexington (1999), Covington (2003), Vicco (2013), Frankfort (2013), Morehead (2013), Danville (2014), Midway (2015), Paducah (2018), Maysville (2018), Henderson (2019), Dayton (2019), Versailles (2019) and Georgetown (2019). If you want Daviess County to join them, speak up now.

Barbara Bennett

Owensboro

Fiscal Court takes easy way out over doing what's right

My religious beliefs inform me that unjustified war is sinful. Before we entered the Iraq War, I wrote letters and protested. What I didn't do was stop paying taxes. I was obliged to give money to support a war that violated my religious faith. Were my religious beliefs infringed? According to Commissioner Charlie Castlen, the answer is surely yes.

The noisiest opposition to an ordinance to protect all Daviess Countians -- regardless of sexual orientation -- from discrimination comes from those who claim their religious liberty would be infringed. They cite Biblical passages to justify their belief that it's fine for some to be refused service in a place of business, to be unable to rent an apartment of their choice, and to be turned down for a job for which they are qualified. Ironically, passages from the same Bible were used to justify slavery, to prevent women from voting, and to condone discrimination against African-Americans.

Commissioner Wathen doesn't believe that fairness can be legislated, that you cannot make people be "nice." The fairness ordinance is not about "nice" -- it is about equal protection under the law. Slavery did not end because people were nice. Women did not get the right to vote because people were nice. Black people did not stop riding in the back of the bus because people were nice. It took legislation. It was hard, and it was divisive. And it was the right thing to do.

Today, passing the fairness ordinance is the right thing to do.

Marjorie Flowers

Owensboro

All of God's children deserve equality, fairness

There seems to be controversy about whether our county should have a fairness ordinance. Other cities and counties have passed such ordinances, but for some reason, some of our leaders and citizens say we don't need one. Why? Shouldn't we all be equal under the law and have the protection of the law? Are some more equal than others? Does one's gender, color or sexual orientation make them less than others?

One hundred years ago, women could not vote. Some of the most ardent opposition came from churches who claimed that women did not need the vote. They said women had all the protection they needed, they were not equal to men, therefore they did not need the vote. On Aug. 26, 2020, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of women having the vote, but it was a long, hard battle. We need laws to protect everyone; we need equality for everyone.

Before the Civil Rights Act was finally passed, many churches led the opposition, selecting scriptures to say blacks were different, therefore unequal in their opinion. The churches should have been leading the fight for equality. Now it is the LGBTQ community that is considered unworthy of equal protection, and we are hearing some religions claim they are unworthy, unequal, sinful. That is not for us to judge. My church teaches grace and forgiveness, that all are equal in God's eyes. We are taught to love our neighbor, to judge not.

Let us all remember that as we push for a fairness ordinance which will provide equality and fairness for all God's children -- no matter their gender, color or sexual preference. God made us all, and God does not make mistakes.

Aloma Williams Dew

Owensboro

Not enough parking to increase population downtown

The city should take the $80,000 allocated for a consultant and find us some more parking spaces downtown. I thought there already was a study about downtown residents. Our patrons do not like coming down here because they have to drive around until they get lucky and find a spot. I honestly don't believe that parking was ever on the planning table.

David Atkinson

Andria's Candies, Owensboro

(1) comment

Gary Adams

Thank you, Barbara, Marjorie, and Aloma, for your cogent arguments supporting a local LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance.

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