Here's some really cool news out of Kentucky. More specifically, out of the very, very, very tiny city of Vicco. Vicco is located in Perry County, in the Appalachian region of Kentucky. Its population is 334 people according to the 2010 census. Located in coal country, Vicco takes its name from the Virginia Iron and Coal Company, which still operates in the area. This is most certainly Appalachia.
And let's face it, Appalachia doesn't have a very good reputation. To many, Vicco might seem like the last place a pro-LGBT ordinance would pass.
Nevertheless, that's exactly what just happened, marking a bold statement by a small town in rural Kentucky and extending much-needed protections to its LGBT residents.
The ordinance received support from three out of four city commission members, as well as Mayor Johnny Cummings. The measure prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on one's actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
Vicco City Attorney Eric Ashley commented:
Vicco is a community that believes all folks should be treated fairly. We believe everyone deserves the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Fairness is a Kentucky value, a Vicco value, and one of our most American values.Well said, Mr. Ashley.
Vicco is the fourth city in Kentucky to pass such an ordinance. Hopefully this will spur other communities in the state--and elsewhere--to take similar action. The ACLU of Kentucky reports:
Vicco's passage of a Fairness law comes on the heels of several other Kentucky communities' movements towards anti-discrimination protections through work with the Fairness Coalition of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky (ACLU-KY), Fairness Campaign, Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, Kentucky Fairness Alliance, and Lexington Fairness. In November, grassroots movements for Fairness began in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, and Shelbyville, joining those already under way in Berea and Richmond.Good for Vicco. This is what real progress looks like. When Appalachian towns of 334 people are passing LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination ordinances, you know we're on the winning side.
According to a 2010 survey by The Schapiro Group, 83% of Kentuckians support anti-discrimination Fairness protections, which have been proposed in the Kentucky General Assembly for more than ten years without debate. Lexington Senator Kathy Stein has introduced Statewide Fairness Senate Bill 28 in the 2013 legislative session. Louisville Representative Mary Lou Marzian will introduce an identical bill in the House along with an anti-bullying/harassment law for Kentucky schools. Fairness supporters from all across the commonwealth will rally at the Capitol in Frankfort Wednesday, February 20.