Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Henderson council repeals ordinance protecting gays

The Associated Press

        HENDERSON, Ky. — City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday night to repeal an ordinance protecting gays from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations.

        “I don't think it's a secret this is not wanted,” said Rick Hile, who had sued the city in opposition to the ordinance. “There will be a lot of happy people in Henderson.”

        A majority of the speakers at Tuesday's meeting, however, disagreed with Mr. Hile. After the vote, supporters left the meeting singing “We Shall Overcome.”

        “Repealing it sends a message that we were wrong and it's OK to discriminate,” said Kyle Burson.

        The ordinance was passed 3-2 by council in 1999. No complaints under it have been filed with the city.

        Last fall, City Commissioner Sonny Ward — a supporter of the ordinance — chose not to seek re-election. His seat was filled by Bob Hall, an ordinance opponent.

        Mr. Hall said Tuesday he didn't think the ordinance was necessary because he had never witnessed any discrimination against gays in Henderson.

        Mayor Joan Hoffman and City Council member Michele Deep said during the meeting they were sad to see the ordinance repealed.

        “I'm sorry for tonight,” Ms. Deep said.


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