Daviess County will not have a nondiscrimination ordinance after a 2-2 vote was cast by Fiscal Court on Thursday. Three votes of approval were needed to pass the ordinance.
County Commissioners George Wathen and Charlie Castlen voted against the ordinance, while Judge-Executive Al Mattingly and County Commissioner Mike Koger voted in approval.
“It won’t be brought up again in the foreseeable future,” Mattingly said after the ordinance failed. “I’m disappointed for the LGBTQ community. They worked hard to make their case.”
The nondiscrimination ordinance would have given those in the LGBTQ community protections for housing, employment and public accommodations at a local level. Religious liberties have been included in the ordinance, as faith-based small businesses, religious organizations and individuals still have the religious freedom to turn away those in the LGBTQ community.
Before the vote took place, Wathen called the ordinance a complex issue, whether or not it ended up being passed.
“In my opinion, if this ordinance is passed, it will bring with it many negative consequences — some obvious enough, and some not so obvious,” he said.
Commissioner Mike Koger said he was torn on the issue before voting in approval, adding that he didn’t believe a real winner would come out of Thursday’s vote — no matter which way those votes went.
“I think the LGBTQ community are just wanting to stand on their own equal ground, and I believe that the Lord will judge us someday for our own actions in his own way,” Koger said.
Deanna Endicot-Smith, a city commission candidate who has fought for the nondiscrimination ordinance since July 2019 said she was a little surprised by the tie vote and the ordinance failing as a result.
“It was really hard to be prepared because Castlen was very tight-lipped on everything,” she said. “You were hanging on the edge of your seat until the votes were cast.”
“It breaks my heart for the younger people who live in Daviess County and the LGBTQ community,” she added. “Young people see this fail and are going to move somewhere more progressive, more accepting. That’s my biggest fear now.”
Jordan Tong, who has expressed opposition to the ordinance, said that while he believes the outcome is the best thing for Daviess County, people must show kindness to one another.
“Now more than ever, we must demonstrate our love for one another,” Tong said. “For those who said this ordinance was unnecessary, now is our chance prove that with charity.”