Governor asking Sunrise to abide by federal ruling

A very misleading article by Brandon Porter, the Communications Director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, appeared in the May 18 issue of The Advocate-Messenger.

This article states “Governor Andy Beshear’s administration has sent a contract to Sunrise that causes them to violate their deeply held religious convictions if they sign it.”

Porter (no kin of mine!) tries to blame Governor Beshear for a recent SCOTUS ruling that prohibits discrimination against LBGTQ people. All the governor is doing is asking Sunrise to abide by a federal ruling that they are already called upon by law to obey. The recent ruling is summarized below:

On May 10, 2021, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it will interpret Section 1557 and Title IX, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The new interpretation is being made pursuant to Bostock v. Clayton County. In that case, the Supreme Court — in a 6-3 decision written by Justice Gorsuch — held that Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination bars workplace discrimination because someone is gay or transgender.

This article brings back memories of 2014 when a group of us advocated for and got a ”Fairness Ordinance” passed here in Danville by a city commission vote of 4:1 forbidding discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Shortly after the passage of the Fairness Ordnance Sunrise Children’s Services, which had recently fired an employee who was outed as a lesbian, demanded that it be exempted from the ordinance on the basis that it was a quasi-religious entity. Furthermore they threatened to sue the City of Danville and, if they lost, to move their Danville facility to a venue where they would be free to discriminate as they wished.

We pointed out that Sunrise claims to be religious institution but that they receive 80-85% of their funding from the state and federal government and therefore should be bound by the Fairness Ordinance. Unfortunately two of our city commissioners were frightened by the prospect of losing the 50 or so jobs Sunrise provides and exempted them from the Fairness Ordinance.

Now six years later the Federal Government has finally caught up to where we were in 2014. Brandon Porter tries to blame it on Governor Beshear but that is totally false!

Jim Porter

Danville