"Just be nice to everybody."

That's Somerset Councilor Amanda "Bean" Bullock's reasoning behind introducing an amendment to the city's existing human rights ordinance, an amendment that updates the wording to expand legal protection to more groups

The amendment had it's first reading Monday night, and will be voted upon at the next city council meeting.

The original wording of the ordinance was written and passed in 1980.

If the amendment passes, the wording will be changed to "encourage fair treatment and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation or gender identity."

The last two categories are the main additions, but Bullock pointed out that the concept of age discrimination has changed since the 1980 draft.

Currently, the city's rules specifies that people cannot be discriminated against if they are between the ages of 40 and 65.

"I'm under this [range], and there are a few people on council who are over this," Bullock said.

Bullock said that she brought the change to the council because she had been in contact with others who wanted to see the wording modified, and had learned that 10 other cities within Kentucky had changed their wording to be more inclusive.

"When it comes to things like housing and jobs, living your life, everybody should be treated equally and have absolute equal opportunities," Bullock said.

A second city councilor, Tom Eastham, expressed support for the amendment, and stated that he believed it would pass easily, and possibly unanimously.

"Most people that I know in my community treat people fair and equal across the board," Eastham said. "We don't have to think about what differences we have. I know there are those who don't, but for the most part, we treat everybody equal. ...But we're in a position in this day and time where government entities have to have something in place, not to force us but to protect people from being abused in certain situations.

"When you see someone who wants to complicate an issue like this it's strictly because of discrimination," Eastham said.

A group of spectators erupted into applause at the conclusion of the council meeting. One among that group, Ron Kidd, said he has been wanting to see this change for a long time.

"We do a Pledge of Allegiance that ends 'with liberty and justice for all.' I've been saying 'with liberty and justice for some' for years. It's time to get this going," Kidd said.

He and three others, Patricia Shackleford, Lynn Tieman and Nancy Holland, were considered the lead organizers for the change.

Shackleford said after the meeting, "I'm a parent of children who identify as LGBTQ, and I'm very supportive of my children. I think this is something that our town needs."

Plus, both she and Kidd said that the update would make Somerset more attractive in terms of more tourism and business opportunities.

"Places like Kroger and Target are very LGB friendly, and if we want to attract more places like that to our town, then we need to have policies that are in place," Shackleford said.

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