Bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation gets hea - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation gets hearing

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State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian
Kile Nave Kile Nave
Ralph Dechabert Ralph Dechabert

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - A police officer who says he was fired for being gay and an executive from a major Louisville company both asked Kentucky lawmakers Wednesday to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

It's the first time either a House or Senate committee had held a hearing on the issue, which supporters call the "Fairness Bill."

Kile Nave, who won a case in front of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission against his former employer, the Audubon Park Police Department, told lawmakers that he had been fired in 2012 for being gay.

"I'm a proud Christian, a Republican, a gun owner, and I'm gay," Nave said. "And I deserve to be protected against discrimination, just like everyone else."

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Lousville, sponsored House Bill 171. She described how she found out her brother was gay when he tried to commit suicide as a teenager.

Five people spoke in favor of the measure at the House Judiciary Committee meeting. One lawmaker on the panel thanked Marzian for her work, but no legislators asked questions.

Afterward, Chris Hartman, acknowledged the bill might not advance any further this legislative session, but said just holding the hearing showed the issue has momentum.

Six Kentucky cities, including Louisville, have ordinances banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. Twenty-one states have similar legislation, Hartman said.

Ralph De Chabert, the chief diversity officer at Brown-Forman Corp., told lawmakers that his company has benefited from its own anti-discrimination policy among its 4,000 worldwide employees. 

It's also good business for the Louisville-based seller of spirits and wine, De Chabert said.

"You can't just go into (the LGBT) community to sell your product," he said. "That community wants to know you care about issues that impact them very deeply."  

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