The Louisville Fairness Campaign has released a study that says it would not cost Richmond, Kentucky taxpayers any additional money to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents from discrimination. Richmond has a human rights commission, but the city does not ban discrimination based on perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The Fairness Campaign has sought to extend those protections, but opponents say it would cost too much money to enforce. The study from the state human rights commission has found that enforcement would be budget neutral. (Read the study here.)
“Just by making a few budget tweaks here and there within the existing human rights commission, they’ll be able to reserve the funds each year that they’re not using to save for an administrative hearing when it’s necessary,” says Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman.
Hartman hopes the study provokes Richmond lawmakers to protect LGBT residents. He doesn’t speculate on whether any fights against fairness laws are based on discrimination and says everything has to be taken at face value.
“If a city is saying the costs are too high to enforce a fairness ordinance, we try to investigate a way that a city can afford to enforce a fairness ordinance. And if some other barrier comes up, we’ll address that on its face as well,” he says. “When all those barriers have been broken down, if there is still resistance, then we need to address if there is an underlying problem there.”
The campaign released a similar study of Berea that showed minimal enforcement costs. Berea lawmakers are also mulling a fairness ordinance.
In Kentucky, only Louisville, Lexington and Covington have fairness laws.