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Henderson, Ky. to make another try for LGBTQ ordinance

HENDERSON, Ky. — Henderson will make another attempt to pass an ordinance against LGBTQ discrimination, the Henderson Gleaner reported Wednesday.

The newspaper reported that Henderson Mayor Steven Austin took a poll of the council members, the majority of who supported the idea, on what they call a fairness ordinance.

From the Gleaner:

Commissioners Brad Staton, X.R. Royster and Austin Vowels said yes. Commissioner Patti Bugg and Mayor Austin said no.

With that 3-2 split, the mayor directed City Attorney Dawn Kelsey and other staff members to begin research on an ordinance for future discussion and consideration.

Austin didn’t let anyone in the audience speak on the issue. He explained there would be at least two opportunities for hearings and discussion once a proposal was formally brought before the board of commissioners.

When the poll of commissioners was taken, Staton took the opportunity to explain his decision.

“I think it’s important to note that we are voting on whether or not to hear it, and not voting on whether to approve it. And I will always be in favor of hearing issues that are of this much interest to our community regardless of my personal opinion. So that is a yes,” he said.

Bugg, who had said no, said he didn’t think the issue was a problem in this small city across the Ohio from Evansville. 

“I’ve done a lot of research, talked to a lot of people and this hasn’t been a problem in the last several years in Henderson. I can’t answer about anywhere else in the country, but in Henderson, this hasn’t been a problem and it really saddens me to think we might have to split this whole community like we did 20 years ago. It wasn’t pretty and I just think we’ve come so far in unity.”

The newspaper said this comes a week after after a conservative group called the Commonwealth Policy Center came to town to organize opposition to a fairness ordinance and a couple months after a former mayor asked the council to consider it.

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