The South Will Rise: Kentucky, Texas Consider LGBT Legal Protections

flag_kentuckyThe cause of LGBT equality has really gripped the nation, from watershed victories in marriage equality last fall to President Obama’s historic mention of gay rights in his inaugural address.

And in two states often considered the least progressive in the nation, lawmakers and advocates are working to protect the LGBT community from discrimination.

The Kentucky Equality Federation (KEF) is petitioning to expand the state’s Civil Rights Act of 1966 to include protections for LGBT people, and has set up a petition to rally supporters.

Leaders feel working on enacting local measures piecemeal would take forever: “With 120 counties and 15 major cities in Kentucky, if we get one local equality ordinance a year, it will take over a century to achieve equality,” said KEF Chairman Brandon Combs.

The Kentucky Civil Rights Act currently prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, national origin, color, and religion. When the law passed Martin Luther King called it “the strongest and most comprehensive civil rights bill passed by a Southern state.”

Meanwhile in Texas, lawmakers have introdutexasmapced House Bill 238, which would  add sexual orientation to a law that prohibits discrimination based on gender, religion and age. Currently Texans can be fired simply for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. “80% of people think it’s already against the law to fire someone just because they’re gay—they don’t realize it’s legal and it does happen,” said Equality Texas’ Chuck Smith.

One victim, Lisa Scheps, was part owner of a company until her partners discovered she was transitioning:  “One of them looked at me and said, ‘How are you going to manage our company when all you’re really going to be concerned about is nail polish?” recalls Scheps.

Representative Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio), who sponsored HB 238, calls it “the right thing” to do: “To be judged not based on how productive they are or how well they do their job is really not in keeping with the values of Texas.”

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #anti-discriminationlaws #kentucky #states stories and more


  • Steve Rider

    Texans are interested in fair play just as people are elsewhere. What has changed is that the general public throughout the USA now agrees, at least, that it is wrong to actively punish people for being gay.

    Eventually they will realize that Traditional Family Values is a euphemism for bigotry and intolerance and even in Texas the general public will support equal justice under the law.

    I’ve met some mighty fine people from Texas, they are not all Christian.

  • brent

    @Steve Rider: You can’t be christian and be for fair play

  • Joetx

    Unfortunately, hell will freeze over before there are LGBT-friendly laws statewide in TX. We are 1 of the most backwards states in the nation. It would be understandable if there weren’t any major metropolitan areas in the state, but since we have DFW, Houston, San Antonio, & Austin (the last the only liberal city), it’s shameful.

  • hyhybt

    @brent: How do you figure that?

  • anubis0614

    I agreee with Joetx. You have that republican slime ball Rick Perry (closet queen)who will veto ANYTHING that has to do with LGBT protections. Not to mention that the Republican held Texas Senate would kill any bill for LGBT protections there. If by some miracle, a bill did get past the Senate, and was actually bought up before a vote to the citizens, every Southern Baptist preacher would be telling his so called good “christians” how to vote. Were looking at years here in Texas before any of this becomes a reality.

  • Billysees

    @hyhybt: 4

    Great question……lol…

  • multitasker

    I would seriously doubt that it gets far, but it pleases me that the proposal will instigate dialog within the commonwealth. Whenever I’ve been in Texas, the common discourse has presumed a unanimously (Austin apparently doesn’t count cuz they’re weird there) antigay sentiment among Texans. The proposal of equal protection INSIDE Texas cannot be painted as a screwed up, “anti-family” disease that only non-Texans would support. It will be interesting to see how many lgbt-friendly people come out of their equality closet and verbalize their dissent.

  • FStratford

    Typical Texas Trash.

Comments are closed.