Friday, June 26, 2015

#MarriageEquality: Special Statement on U.S. Supreme Court and marriage equality in Kentucky


"Today, we celebrate with LGBTIQ communities across the country; particularly across our Commonwealth, as the U.S. Supreme Court has reached the historic ruling to declare marriage equality for all masses.

Historically, courts have always had to act in favor of the minority against the majority; the history of our Commonwealth and indeed our entire Union forge this undeniable fact. Labeling any person by a characteristic such as gay, Asian, Indian, etc. is dehumanizing and commonly used by oppressors as justification.

Kentucky Equality Federation, along with other groups of hard working activists, have worked tirelessly over the years to fight for the fundamental rights of members of our community. The destination was clear, but the journey came with blood, sweat, and a lot of tears.

As I said over six (6) years ago when fighting California's Prop 8: 'It is our generation's obligation and opportunity to see this injustice righted in our lifetime. We stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us – the time is here, the time is now, history is calling us.' I am proud to say, the call has finally been answered across the United States.

Kentucky Equality Federation v. Commonwealth of Kentucky has yet to be ruled on in Franklin Circuit Court. Today, however, the gatherings, meetings, protests, prayers, letters, calls, and cries have all been legitimized and justified. Today is a bright day. It's a day that reminds us that perseverance always pays off. 

As we celebrate this decision, we are reminded that a couple can be married on Sunday and then be fired from their job or denied a loan.

Even as we celebrate, we know this journey is far from being over. The Kentucky Equality Federation will continue to listen and advocate for those whose voices have been silenced. As we journey on in our quest for equality for all, we encourage everyone to get involved and help in your communities." - Kentucky Equality Federation founder and alliance Secretary-General Jordan Palmer.

"We are encouraged by today's ruling. It is long overdue that all families be recognized in the United States, and this ruling solidifies protections for families and children in Kentucky.  Love is a universal value, and marriage is an agreement between consenting adults and the state. Now, the citizens of our Commonwealth can take pride in the fact that we have joined our neighboring states in supporting equality.

As we go along our journey in our pursuit for equality for all, we encourage everyone to get involved and help in your communities. Whether you participate in a march or just take time to sit down with someone and listen to their story, we believe everyone can play a role in making our communities more loving and equal." - Kentucky Equality Federation Vice Chairman Miles Meehan for Marriage Equality Kentucky.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Jordan Palmer injured in car accident. Extent of injuries unknown.

Senate 30 Democratic candidate and civil rights leader Jordan Palmer was in a car accident today, leaving him with yet unknown injuries.

Kentucky Col. Jordan Palmer founded Kentucky Equality Federation to advocate for victims of school bullying, hate crimes, and discrimination. Palmer also founded Kentucky Equal Ballot Access and several other non-profits, including the Southern Kentucky Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, Inc. (also known as the Southeastern Kentucky Brigade of Kentucky Colonels).

Mr. Palmer successfully lobbied the federal government into prosecuting the first gay federal hate crime in U.S. history with the Kevin Pennington case and still under investigation, the Misty Turner case.

Mr. Palmer's attorney, Jill Hall Rose, also sued the Warren County Regional Jail when an inmate bit the note off Brandon Milam while in protective custody.

The Southeastern Kentucky Brigade of Kentucky Colonels, Kentucky Equal Ballot Access, and Kentucky Equality Federation are trying to get additional information, however, the initial phone call and scenes from the accident indicate Mr. Palmer received moderate to severe injuries. State and federal privacy laws have prevented us from getting additional information.

No additional information was available at press time until a family member can be reached, a representative with the Southeastern Kentucky Colonels, or a representative with his State Senate campaign.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Kentucky Equality Federation raises issue with EKU's proposed policy change for "Registered Student Organizations"

Brandon Combs, Chairman of the Board for the Kentucky Equality Federation, reached out to Dr. Michael T. Benson, President, and Dr. Janna P. Vice, Provost, of Eastern Kentucky University regarding a proposed policy change for Registered Student Organizations (RSO). (download)

The proposed policy includes verbiage that would open the door for student organizations to willfully discriminate against any student for any reason they see fit without regard for the law or University policy.

“I am hopeful that by providing my alma mater some very direct policy advice, we will be able to prevent any future discrimination complaints associated with the campus’ Registered Student Organizations," stated Brandon Combs, Chairman. "Student organizations have the right to operate within their niche of the campus community, but this must be done with respect to the law, University policy, and general common decency."

Chairman Combs extended an open door for meeting with the University Administration to discuss the proposed policy change, however, has not yet been reached out to by University staff. The Kentucky Equality Federation is standing by ready to assist the University with any policy-making questions, or any students who fall victim to discrimination due to poor policy making.

Below of a copy of the letter or one can be obtained in PDF format here.

This letter is being sent regarding the proposed Registered Student Organization (RSO) policy change that is currently available for debate on the 30 Day Comment Forum, hosted by Director Parks’ department. The proposed policy, as presented is not sufficient, as its wording opens the door for discrimination of all kinds. The phrase "However, the University respects the rights of the VSO/NSO to determine its own membership" has sufficient ambiguity to cause alarm to multiple populations on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus. As written, this would allow an organization to discriminate against any person for any reason, which may include, but is not limited to: age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, veteran status, or genetic information. Any discrimination complaint filed with these classifications would violate Title 7, Title 9, and/or EKU Policy and Regulation 1.4.1P – Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Statement (Non-Discrimination Policy).
It is the suggestion of my Office that you amend the aforementioned statement to include the following: “The University respects the rights of the VSO/NSO to determine its own membership, however the selection process for membership shall not violate state or federal law, any EKU policies, and should be available for immediate review at the request of the Office of the Provost for Academic Affairs.” Failing to protect the student body from discrimination would potentially make the University liable, thusly causing a loss in Title 7 and Title 9 funding (see. Bob Jones University v. United States; Jason Johnson v. University of the Cumberlands).
Furthermore, as the largest, all-volunteer LGBTI advocacy group in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, we will assist any and all persons who file discrimination complaints rooted in this inefficient policy-making, up to and including legal action, assisting the complainant with securing an attorney, and providing any additional resources to the complainant available at our disposal.
Officials at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) immediately acknowledged receipt of the letter.