Lawsuit dismissed over Kentucky fairness ordinances

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com December 17 2002 1:00 AM ET

Ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in Louisville, Ky., and Kentucky's Jefferson County will be in place next month when the two governments merge following a federal appeals court ruling. A three-judge panel of the U.S. court of appeals dismissed a Louisville gynecologist's lawsuit that challenged the ordinances. "They will be in play unless and until the [metro] council does something different with them," assistant county attorney Scott Lilly said about the ordinances on Friday.

The court's decision did not address the particulars of the ordinances but said that the gynecologist, J. Barrett Hyman, did not have standing to file the lawsuit. Hyman contended in part that his religious beliefs were in conflict with the ordinances so much that he could not comply with them--including the hiring of a gay or lesbian employee--and that he thus risked prosecution based on his faith, which is protected by the First Amendment. Hyman was ruled not to have standing when he filed the lawsuit in September 1999 because he didn't have "an immediate or projected need" to hire an employee, according to the seven-page opinion written by Judge Alice M. Batchelder and issued Monday. The opinion also said that "because his views were known in the community, he did not have any real expectation that he would have any homosexual applicants for employment in the future." Because he could not show that he was being harmed or had a sizable chance of being harmed, the judges said Hyman didn't have standing.