Kentucky Governor VETOES Religious Freedom/Right To Discriminate Bill

Kentucky  Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed the controversial religious-freedom Kentucky Bill  279 Friday afternoon.  The Bill would allow religious individuals, organizations, and business owners with a “sincerely held” belief to openly defy state and local civil-rights laws, including those set in place in four Kentucky cities: Covington, Louisville, Lexington and Vicco that prohibit anti-gay discrimination.

“I have significant concerns that this bill will cause serious unintentional consequences that could threaten public safety, health care and individuals’ civil rights,” Beshear said in a statement. “As written, the bill will undoubtedly lead to costly litigation.”

The sponsor of House Bill 279, Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, (YES A DEMOCRAT)  said he thinks he’ll have the 51 votes required to override the veto if House leaders decide to take a vote. Damron said Beshear, a Democrat, did not ask him or Democratic House leaders to refrain from trying to override the bill during a conversation of more than an hour Friday in the governor’s Capitol office.

In a written statement, Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said, “The Senate is prepared to override the veto of HB 279 if and when the Speaker moves to do so. As a House bill, that chamber must act on the bill first.”

“It won’t be comforting for many Kentuckians to know that the ACLU is now calling the shots in the governor’s office,” said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation. “Religious people should not have to ask permission from the ACLU and gay rights groups to believe what they believe.”
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and the Covington City Council had asked Beshear to veto the bill. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who is gay, came under fire from some advocacy groups for not publicly asking Beshear to veto it.

Gay rights groups applauded Beshear on Friday for vetoing the bill.

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