Friday, August 30, 2013

Around The Nation

Kentucky's Capital City Passes Fairness Ordinance
FRANKFORT -- During a special session Thursday the Frankfort City Commission voted 3-2 to pass an ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations. The state's capital city joined four others, Louisville, Lexington, Covington and Vicco in passing an ordinance protecting lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. 
In the months leading up to Thursday's vote the ordinance had undergone several amendments and public hearings, many of which had been marked by rancor and contentious debate. According to the local The State Journal newspaper, the ordinance became locally notable for its split of progressive and conservative religious leaders, particularly Baptist ministers, who often spoke at meetings.
Ordinance supporters wearing blue “Another Kentuckian for Fairness” T-shirts became staples at commission meetings. Opponents also regularly appeared, many arguing the ordinance would further reverse discrimination against Christians who disagree with homosexuality.
Currently Federal and state laws do not recognise sexual orientation and gender identity among protected classes, such as race and age, but the new local law will add those.
The new measure does however, provide exemptions. The language of the ordinance would permit employers with fewer than eight employees an exemption for their hiring practises and those city residents who lease rooms out of their private homes are also exempt.

Transgender Candidate Enters 2014 Minnesota House Race
Courtesy of Paula Overby
EAGAN-- A 59-year-old transgender quality assurance analyst has filed her federal paperwork, entering the race for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District.
During a phone interview Friday with LGBTQ Nation, Paula Overby said that her application and filing fees were executed last week and Overby said she is now the third Democrat challenging Republican incumbent, Representative John Kline. She also stated that she believes she is the first openly transgender person from Minnesota to run for a Congressional seat. 
Overby is facing a tough primary contest against her Democratic primary opponents, former state Representative Mike Obermueller (D) and  Thomas Craft, a private sector technology solution consultant, particularly as her campaign is in its nascent stage and her opponents have already raised considerable funding for their respective campaigns.
That fact doesn't deter her she said explaining that her focus is on community events, town hall meetings, phone calls and face to face contact prospective constituents. She pointed out that at least one of her opponents, former state representative Obermueller has run against Kline in two previous campaigns, losing in part she thinks because his messaging was media driven and filled with ads that didn't necessarily address the concerns of the voters in the district who would have been inclined to vote for a Democrat.
In her view, there was inadequate challenge(s) to the "far right agenda" of the GOP incumbent whom she notes has voted lock-step with the House GOP majority.
Minnesota’s 2nd district is considered a Republican stronghold and covers the south Twin Cities metropolitan area and includes the cities of Burnsville and Eagan, the largest in the district.
Overby said that she also has spent considerable time going door to door in the district meeting with prospective constituents, listening to the issues that directly affect them.
"Conversations build relationships and relationships build community," she said.
When asked if she had encountered any negative reactions to her gender identity she indicated that out of nearly 2000 plus people she had spoken with thus far, only two have reacted in a negative fashion. She said that she has been active in LGBT equality rights advocacy along with women's rights for over a decade in the state including the successful campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Minnesota. Generally she says she has found acceptance among her fellow Minnesotans.
Overby says that she sees a direct connect between women's rights issues and LGBT equality rights.
"I support programs that encourage individual responsibility and economic independence for women by increasing the economic value of roles traditionally assumed by women. 
Successful family and community values are best served by shared responsibilities. I respect the pursuit of wealth but the role of women and families should not be compromised by this pursuit. 
I oppose solutions that consistently portray women as helpless victims and aggressively divide families into traditional roles of caretaker and provider."
Overby points out that the average voter will connect with her message that common sense has left politics and needs to be returned to public policy.
The Democratic Primary is scheduled for Tuesday, August 12, 2014.