Friday, February 14, 2014

#KY #KYGA14: Special Statement: Bourke v. Beshear and equality across the commonwealth

Richmond, KY - Kentucky Equality Federation welcomes the decision by Judge Heyburn. We believe strongly in equal rights and state sovereignty, and that both are not mutually exclusive.

"However, when a group of religious radicals defaced the Kentucky Constitution in 2004, making a document which guarantees freedom of conscience, life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, their decision had broader ramifications than they expected. It is not acceptable to vandalize the Kentucky Constitution and violate the Commonwealth's own Bill of Rights, and then seek shelter behind the Federal Constitution's Tenth Amendment," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President K. Joshua Koch.

Kentucky Constitution, Section 2: "Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority."
Kentucky Constitution, Section 26: "To guard against transgression of the high powers which we have delegated, We Declare that every thing in this Bill of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and all laws contrary thereto, or contrary to this Constitution, shall be void."
Koch continued:  "By these sections of the Kentucky Constitution's Bill of Rights, such a ban is unconstitutional. There is no special exception made for popularity of a measure, or whether absolute and arbitrary powers are granted by a later amendment. We stand with Kentucky and its own Constitution. While we wish the legislature had protected the constitutional rights of its own citizens without requiring a federal court's intervention, their inaction made this case inevitable. Free people will seek legal recourse from their oppressors, and they are to be commended when they do.

As president, I issue a warning to Kentuckians that this decision, while important, has a very narrow application. We expect that compliance with the decision will lag or be outright refused in some jurisdictions. Further, it still does not rectify, as it could not, the inability of LGBTI couples to marry within Kentucky, nor did it add a statewide LGBTI Civil Rights protection law.

These issues must be addressed in the immediate future, or Kentucky will continue to be wracked by lawsuits. The legislators of Kentucky would do well to recognize that their inaction thus far has been rejected by concerned citizens, and further inaction will not be tolerated. The citizens of Kentucky are seeking equality by any means necessary. If our lawmakers in the Kentucky House and Senate are not up to the task of removing barriers of discrimination for certain citizens and taxpayers, those vulnerable members of society have a right to seek seek Judicial recourse or vote them out of office."

NOTICE: Some comments made by President K. Joshua Koch have been moved by the President's Legal Department to our official blog. To read those comments, please click here.

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