The executive order was originally signed by Governor Paul Patton (Kentucky was the first whose Governor signed such an order), but the executive order was rescinded by Governor Ernie Fletcher resulting in Kentucky Equality Federation protesting the Governor's Annual Derby Breakfast. (Previous News Articles: I, II, III, and IV)
On June 02, 2008, Governor Beshear signed executive order 2008-473 which you can find on the Kentucky Department of State website under Executive Journal.
Executive Order 2008-473 states:
WHEREAS, the Government of the Commonwealth of Kentucky exists to serve equally all of the people of the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, equal employment opportunity for all persons should be an integral part of our state government employment system, affording fair treatment relating to any employment action, benefit or condition of employment; and
WHEREAS, the fair and equitable treatment of all employees of and applicants for employment with the government of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is essential to the effective operation of state government;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Steven L. Beshear, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, by virtue of authority vested in me by Sections 81 and 69 of the Constitution of Kentucky, KRS 12.080 and the laws of Kentucky, do hereby order and direct the following:
1. This Executive Order applies to all applicants for positions within and employees of the program cabinets and the administrative bodies attached to the program cabinets or attached directly to the Governor's Office in the Executive Branch of the government of the Commonwealth of Kentucky as provided in KRS Chapter 12, et. seq.
2. It shall be the policy of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to provide equal employment opportunity to all people in all aspects of employer-employee relations without discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity, ancestry, age, disability or veteran status. Employer-employee relations shall include but not be limited to hiring, promotion, termination, tenure, recruitment and compensation.
3. The affirmative action plan for Kentucky state government adopted by Executive Order 84-549 and Executive Order 96-612, which committed the state to secure for its employees equal employment opportunities and freedom from discrimination and harassment, shall be in full force and effect except as specifically modified herein. The provisions of Executive Order 2006-402 are hereby rescinded and declared to be null and void.
4. The Secretary of the Personnel Cabinet in conjunction with the Governor's Executive Cabinet shall take all steps necessary to implement this Order.
In media comments, Governor Beshear stated: "A person should be hired or dismissed on the basis of whether they can do the job. Experience, qualifications, talent and performance are what matter."
"Kentucky Equality Federation urges Governor Beshear to include the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity in his next State of the Commonwealth Address," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "We have no doubt that Governor Beshear will be re-elected and urge Governor Beshear to place the Commonwealth at the forefront of civil rights again by passing a statewide equality law."
Palmer continued: "In 1966 Kentucky was the first state to create a Civil Rights Act (the Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966); since then we have fallen behind other states, we are no longer a player, much less a leader in the area of civil rights. Governor Beshear carries the support of the bulk of the Commonwealth's LGBTI community, though Kentucky Equality Federation does not give official endorsements."
Kentucky Equality Federation has created an online petition using their long-term partner, change.org, urging the Governor to instruct the Kentucky House and Senate to review the issue and finally pass a statewide law to protect all citizens of the Commonwealth from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in-line with his executive order.