Feel the Kentucky Homomentum!

Vicco, Kentucky (pop. 335) has passed a ban forbidding discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

The New York Times' coverage, while not perfect, has a good description of the process, and of the role played by the city's openly gay mayor, Johnny Cummings. In addition to shepherding through this equality measure, Mr. Cummings has been active in trying to improve the town's infrastructure and civic pride:

As mayor, Mr. Cummings inherited a skeleton-crew city that could not afford to keep all the office lights on. What’s more, the creaky pipes in its water system, which generates money for the city through sales to area customers, were leaking more than 40 percent of the water, or revenue.

“How do you fix this?” Mr. Cummings remembers thinking. “I’m just a hairdresser.”

He began by making amends with government agencies that had long since written off Vicco, hiring back the maintenance whiz who knew the city’s pipes better than anyone and securing public grants to pay for the work. Now, he says, the repaired pipes are creating enough revenue to hire more workers and restore some color to Vicco’s dreary black-and-white.

For example, he paid $600 for the bold blue metal bench that now sits in front of City Hall, emblazoned with the city’s name. He also hired the city’s first police officer in years: Tony Vaughn, a former detective and one of Mr. Cummings’s protectors back in high school...

...This place-in-progress called Vicco was one of a handful of municipalities to receive a request last year from the Fairness Coalition, a Kentucky-based advocacy group for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Mr. Cummings happens to have a sister, Lee Etta, who is active in the coalition.

The coalition’s request: to consider adopting an anti-discrimination ordinance.

The city’s forward-thinking attorney, Eric Ashley, trimmed the coalition’s 28-page ordinance proposal down to a couple of pages. Then the mayor and the four-member Commission, all heterosexual men, met in December for a first reading and a discussion that ended with a 4-to-0 vote in favor of adoption.

Congratulations to the people of Vicco!

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