Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Business journal
criticizes Kentucky governor for nixing gay protections

A prominent
business journal in Kentucky has come out against Republican
governor Ernie Fletcher's recent elimination of
antidiscrimination workplace protections for gays and
lesbians. In an editorial that appeared in Friday's
edition, Tom Martin, editor in chief of Business
Lexington
, lambasted Fletcher's action, saying
that the governor has "undermined" the ability of
Lexington, Louisville, and other Kentucky cities to attract
new business, ranging from industry conventions to
companies thinking about relocating.
"Governor Fletcher may or may not be pandering
to the most extreme social and religious conservatives
among his voter base. That's a political matter,"
Martin wrote. "Our concern is for the well-being of
our business community. And in any case, either way, this
policy sends Kentucky stumbling backward, even as the nation
and the world have moved on."
He added: "With the stroke of a pen, Governor
Fletcher has undermined the efforts of our urban
centers, which have local antidiscrimination statutes
shielding gays and lesbians, to present themselves to
prospective new businesses and residents as progressive and fair-minded."
Lexington's 1999 Fairness
Ordinance included sexual orientation and gender
identity as a protected class in the city's policy against
discrimination in housing, employment, and public
accommodations. Other areas of the state have similar protections.
In the editorial, Martin pointed out that after
Cincinnati, Ohio, passed an antigay charter amendment
in 1994, the city lost $46 million or more in
convention business, as several firms that had considered
having their conventions there decided to go
elsewhere. "Under the watch of Gov. Ernie Fletcher,
the state of Kentucky now harms corporate recruiting,"
he wrote. (The Advocate)

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