Fairness Campaign draws large crowd in front of Catholic church

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It was a rare sight for drivers in downtown Louisville Sunday afternoon as dozens gathered for a peaceful assembly in front of the Cathedral of the Assumption.

It may have looked like a group of protestors, but they were actually people thanking the local Catholic church for supporting a bill aimed at stopping discrimination against gays and lesbians in the Commonwealth.

"I wanted to make sure that Archbishop Kurtz was aware that we think is the right thing to do and support the bills," said Mike Kuharich who came to gather.

Reverend Joseph Fowler made it public that he supports the bill. That made longtime Catholic Donna Bedtelyon come out to say thanks in a peaceful assembly.

"No one should be discriminated against based on sexual orientation and I feel very strongly about that," said Bedtelyon.

Reverend Fowler goes on to say that nationwide, 73% of Catholics feel the same way. But the battle is still far from over locally in Frankfort, where the bill still needs to be heard by lawmakers.

"It would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of one's perceived sexual orientation or gender identity," said Chris Hartman with the Fairness Campaign.

It's not the first time it's come up in the state of Kentucky, but this time, the Fairness Campaign wants to make sure it's heard... and time is ticking.

"We're right in the middle of the legislature right now. The statewide anti discrimination law has never had a committee hearing so the bills never been debated in the 15 or so years that it's been proposed, much less voted on," Hartman said.

The candles held by those who gathered Sunday represent a light of hope for that. Those who had the wind snuff out their flame hope that's a wind of change that's needed to pass this bill.

Kentucky Senate Bill 69 and House Bill 188 are sponsored by about a dozen Kentucky lawmakers.

The Fairness group is organizing an event for Wednesday, February 22 in Frankfort to encourage passage of those bills, starting at 10:00 a.m. where they plan to lobby legislators to support Statewide Fairness; continuing at 1:30 p.m. with a Rally for Fairness in the Capitol Rotunda.

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