For fairness' sake, give the Berea City Council the benefit of the doubt and say members decided to leave sexual orientation and gender identity out of a proposed fairness ordinance so they could get something passed.
It's understandable that they'd want to avoid another long siege of thundering ministers and their distressed flocks.
So instead they proposed an ordinance that tries to eliminate discrimination based on religion, race, gender, age and physical disability and stops there.
It's understandable, but it's not acceptable.
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In this best-case scenario, the public policy is based on fear of confronting a very vocal minority. The worst case is that council members simply don't want to include sexual identity in the ordinance.
In either case, why bother with an ordinance at all?
If the goal of the ordinance is to ensure people are not denied access to jobs, housing and public accommodations based on reasons unrelated to their qualifications, then why exclude a group that we all know can be the object of discrimination?
Fairness ordinances are about just that: treating everyone fairly. It's the right thing to do and it makes economic sense. No one benefits when people are excluded from participating in and contributing to the local economy.
That was the reasoning in Lexington, Louisville and Covington, which have ordinances that include protection for sexual orientation and identity.
The Berea City Council deserves credit for bringing up the issue.
But the effort will be a symbol of protection denied unless the council passes an ordinance embracing a true, inclusive fairness.