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Danville City Commission Amends Fairness Ordinance

Reported by: Tom Kenny
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Updated: 5/28 1:16 am
The Danville City Commission on Tuesday evening amended its much-debated Fairness Ordinance to exempt Sunrise Children's Services, after the organization threatened to sue the city if the measure passed.

The ordinance would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Sunrise operates a psychiatric residential treatment facility for boys ages 6-to-18 in Danville.  There are 50-employees.

An attorney for Sunrise had said in addition to the lawsuit against the city, the agency would also pull out of Danville, taking with it the 50-jobs, if the ordinance became law.

Sunrise did the same thing in Louisville when that city passed a Fairness Ordinance in 1999.

Sunrise argued that Danville would exceed its authority by including classes of people who are not recognized by state anti-discrimination laws if it passed the ordinance.

Currently there isn't a state law that extends civil rights protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Danville City Commissioner Paul Smiley made the motion to amend the ordinance and exempt Sunrise following a closed session meeting that lasted more than an hour.

Commissioners Smiley, Paige Stevens, Kevin Caudill and Mayor Bernie Hunstad voted for the amendment.

Commissioner James Atkins voted against the amendment.

Commissioner Atkins said he supported the ordinance as a whole and would likely vote in favor of it on second reading, which is scheduled for June 9.
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