Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless and Commissioner Richard Abraham each proposed amendments to the city’s ‘fairness ordinance’ at a meeting last night.
Harless’ amendment would align ordinance interpretations with the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The act says governments shall not substantially burden a person’s freedom of religion.
Abraham’s amendment adds language stating no individual or business can be forced to participate in activities that go against their religious beliefs. Harless said the “local language” in Abraham’s amendment would disrupt consistency with state language.
“I’m afraid that we’re creating our own court system with your amendment that when this comes to be challenged that there’s not going to be a higher power, a higher law to refer to,” Harless said. “And so I just don’t think it’s accomplishing what you’re trying to accomplish. I actually put together that amendment that I just presented because I am trying to get us to the goal that we’re trying to get to.”
Harless said she brought forward her amendment after hearing concerns from fellow commissioners. They decided to look into the amendments further before making a decision.