The Danville Kentucky City Commission has altered a proposed gay rights ordinance as to exempt religious groups from following the law and thus writing in legal discrimination into law after a Baptist-affiliated organization threatened to leave the city if passed in its original form.
At the commission’s meeting last month, an attorney for Sunrise Children’s Services said it would move its child care center out of Danville if the ordinance did not include an exemption. A move that was orchestrated by the Kentucky Baptist Convention who blacklisted the agency for a short time late last year.
The trouble started with Sunrise’s then-president and CEO, Bill Smithwick, who suggested that the group end its ban on hiring gay people. Smithwick reasoned that, with LGBT nondiscrimination legislation on the horizon, Sunrise’s anti-gay policies could cause the charity to lose its taxpayer funding, which accounts for about 85 percent of its operating budget. Kentucky’s Baptist community, however, wasn’t so enthusiastic. And as soon as Smithwick introduced the proposal, the Kentucky Baptist Convention encouraged its affiliates to blacklist Sunrise and hold back donations until it abandoned its proposed nondiscrimination policy. Church donors across the state immediately began withholding their usual contributions, refusing to donate a penny to an organization that might hire openly gay people.
Sunrise relented and went back to its discriminatory practices after the blacklisting caused a major funding shortfall for the organization.
Then at the Danville City commission’s meeting last month the Kentucky Baptist Convention used the child care services organization as a pawn in a power play when the attorney for Sunrise Children’s Services said it would move its child care center out of Danville if the ordinance did not include an religious exemption because it would lose funding once again from the Baptists.
The Danville City Commission changed the proposed ordinance on Tuesday. The commission voted 3-2 in favor of the revised ordinance on its first reading Tuesday.
The commission will vote on a second reading next month
How “Christian” of the Kentucky Baptist to threaten to starve children in order to able to remain bigoted against the LGBT community.