"Kentucky Equality Federation urges and requests that John D. Minton, Jr., Chief Justice of the Commonwealth intervene immediately in the name of justice," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "The personal bias of a defense attorney is not relevant in open court and we have seen before the Drumhead Court-Martial mentality of justice for LGBTI people in Southeastern Kentucky. In addition, Kentucky Equality Federation is referring this case to Walter Atkinson with the U.S. Department of Justice as a hate crime because of the terms "Dike," "Pu__y Licking W_ores," and "If you wanna look like a man, then fight like one," being used among others. The accused appear to have targeted the lesbian couple because of their sexual orientation, and though the Commonwealth has a hate crime law that includes sexual orientation we do not have a single case of the Commonwealth’s Hate Crimes Law against the LGBTI community actually being used in Southeastern Kentucky. As we have seen before the family of the accused was granted special permission to have family present in the court room but the family of the plaintiff’s were not according to reports filed and statements made to Kentucky Equality Federation.”
Richard T. Jones, Chairman of the Board for Kentucky Equality Federation stated: “We stand united with Misty Turner, her family, and the entire LGBTI community in Harlan County and across the Commonwealth. Violence is not acceptable, it will not be tolerated. I also call on the Chief Justice of the Commonwealth and have asked President Jordan Palmer to forward this case to our U.S. Department of Justice contacts because we do not have faith in Southeastern Kentucky Courts to implement the Commonwealth’s hate crime law.”
Two Assistant Southern Kentucky Regional Directors, Will Taylor and Shannon L. McKinney are gathering additional information about the case and providing support the Turner family. Kentucky Equality Federation's Children of LGBTI Parents Outreach Director, Julia Oiler Spiegel will contact the family tomorrow.
Will Taylor, Kentucky Equality Federation's Assistant Regional Director for Southeastern Kentucky covering the counties of Bell, Harlan, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, and Perry stated: "With the exception of Hazard, Southeastern Kentucky is a hostile region for the LGBTI community as well as the Latino community. Kentucky Equality Federation is currently also defending the Latino Community after the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided a Mexican restaurant in the City of Harlan; since that time Latino children are being bullied in schools. Many have protested, telling them to return to the United Mexican States. One child, in tears, stated: 'Where do I belong?'"
Related to the case in Harlan County, below is the report submitted to Kentucky Equality Federation (released with permission):
Subject: Hate Crime Report
Name: M. (REMAINDER DELETED) Turner
Appointment of Advocate: I hereby appoint Kentucky Equality Federation and its affiliates to act as my agent and official representative. All information submitted is truthful, and should it not be, I will personally indemnity Kentucky Equality Federation, its affiliates, Board members, Officers, and Volunteers.
IP Address: DELETED
Crime: I am a lesbian and have been with my partner for 5 1/2 years now. I have two small children, that we raise together as a family =) Accross the street from were we were parked, a party was going on and there was approx. 50+ people drinking and shooting fireworks. The crowd kept shooting fireworks in our direction, until one exploded near us, injuring my 2 children, several other family members, and my 80 yr old grandma. I addressed the crowd and told them to stop firing that they had hurt my children.. they proceeded to yell profanities at me including "We'll set everyone of the little Mother Fuckers on fire!" At this time my father walked toward the crowd, and in effort to stop him I went behind him, once I had got away from my car I was attacked by a woman saying she was gonna kill me.
At this time my partner tried to stop her, and we were attacked by at least 15 men. All yelling "If you wanna look like a man, then fight like one" We were also called lesbians, whores, "pussy licking whores" and dikes. No one else in our group was attacked but us. Then a gun was pulled and pointed at us and we were told "I'll kill your dike asses"... In the end, no shots were fired but my partner has suffered extensive contusions and at least one rib fracture, she is still undergoing treatment. I suffered from a closed head injury and intrasinus hemorrhage which is being treated now and damage is not yet determined. We were only able to identify 3 of the men involved. We pressed charges through the county attorney on July 5th. Today was our first appearance in court. A lawyer named Otis Doan is representing the other parties.. while testifying he questioned me about my lifestyle, he was very discrimating and ask me "do you promote this kind of life?" and made the comment "your a lesbian and live in Harlan county" then ask me if I still had "custody" of my children being a lesbian!!!
I was outraged but told him that it was called equality and I was not against any lifestyle. The judge did not stop his comments. One of the men was convicted to be sent to a grand jury for a felony, the other was dismissed, but we have to try and convict according to the county attorney. This has been a long process with a lot more to go. We need support for the gay community in this area. Otherwise, the court will use our sexuality against our case. PLEASE help us.. this was a hate crime and I believe the evidence should speak for itself. Thank you!! ~~