In 1999, I was a reporter and fill-in anchor for WLKY-TV in Louisville, where I covered a “Fairness Ordinance” that was approved by that city’s Board of Aldermen that January. A few months later, I took a new job as an anchor and reporter at WLEX-TV in Lexington, where I covered a Fairness Ordinance approved by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council that July. Flash forward 15 years and change. I was a reporter and columnist for The Woodford Sun covering the Midway City Council when it passed a Fairness Ordinance in May 2015. On Oct. 1, the Versailles City Council passed a Fairness Ordinance. I covered it. Now, Woodford Fiscal Court’s considering a Fairness Ordinance, which is being covered by Guess Who. (For proof, check out this week’s front page, just below the headline.) Monday, while getting some background on those events, I remarked on these seeming coincidences to Chris Hartman, the executive director of The Fairness Campaign, the state-wide group that advocates such efforts. Hartman joked, “We should send you to Eastern Kentucky.” Dear Readers may recall a column I wrote a few years back about playing the Veteran Card, in which I pretended to take credit for the many achievements of our armed services while I was in the Navy. Of course as a journalist in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Orlando, Fla., I had very little to do with the winning of the smart Iraq War, the crumbling of the dumb Soviet Union or the toppling of the wicked Berlin Wall. Aside from a few non-joking remarks from time to time in this space, I believe in the old credo that a journalist’s job is to report the news, not make it. Truth be told, as far as I know, I neither inspired nor affected the movements in these cities involving sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of housing, employment or public accommodations.
I hope I did a better-than-fair job of covering them, though. I aim to do the same again, and I hope you’ll let me know if I make a mistake. (The complaint department’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.) Fact is, I think most supporters and opponents of such legislation – and we’ll hear some of them tonight at the Fiscal Court public forum in the circuit courtroom – believe what they’re saying. In Versailles last fall, they stated their cases with courtesy and respect. Few bombs were dropped, which wasn’t the case in Midway in 2015. I also believe that if Woodford Fiscal Court passes a Fairness Ordinance, neither the worst fears of opponents nor the grandest desires of supporters will be realized. We won’t see a spate of complaints filed – there haven’t been any in Versailles or Midway – and there’ll be no way to tell whether any hearts are changed. But maybe folks will listen to people with whom they disagree, and that will be a good thing. As Winston Churchill may have said, democracy is the worst form of government in the world, except for all the others. On that note, let me close by asking for your thoughts on this subject. Read the rules for our letters to the editor and send us one. Also, Versailles City Council Member Laura Dake, who authored the council’s Fairness Ordinance, wrote a pro-Fairness opinion piece that’s on this page. I’m offering the same opportunity for an opponent. Just keep it around 700 words. Send ‘em to email@example.com – and yes, I’m aware that’s the same email address as the complaint department’s.