Friday, November 24, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation Comments on Protests Held at Wal-Mart in Richmond, KY, and Possible Black Friday Protests of Wal-Mart

A group of protesters converged last week on the Wal-Mart in Richmond, KY to protest the company's fair and equal treatment of homosexuals. Wal-Mart has been under increasing pressure from conservative Christians, especially after they expanded their diversity program in a deal with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Kentucky Equality Federation's Membership Manager and Acting Bluegrass Chapter President, Clarence Wallace, began receiving reports about the protest within hours of its development. The Federation also received approximately 24 emails and telephone calls from concerned members and citizens, including people who work at the Richmond Wal-Mart.

In electronic communication with Wal-Mart's corporate offices, Kentucky Equality Federation General Counsel Paige D. Marks asked Wal-Mart for guidance about the prospect of counter demonstrations or support rallies to support the company's diversity program.

Kentucky Equality Federation members have called for a counter demonstration celebrating diversity as well as fair and equal treatment in the work place to coincide with the one being held by the Richmond Chapter of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance on Black Friday.

Wallace called the protest of a Kentucky Wal-Mart "a complete misunderstanding of Wal-Mart's policy."

During a conference call late Wednesday evening, Federation management and Board members decided not to become involved in any counter protests or a support rally in Richmond.

Though we support the decision of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance's Richmond Chapter, and share solidarity with them, we will spend Black Friday with our loved ones, having just commemorated the feast held at Plymouth in 1621 by Pilgrim colonists and members of the Wampanoag people and marked by the giving of thanks to God for harvest and health," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "It is unreasonable however for anyone to think that companies don't want to do business with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community; our money is as green as anyone's."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Protest / Rally at NKU against government sponsored discrimination

Members of Kentucky Equality Federation and other fair-minded Kentuckians will be assembling and exercising their First Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution and Section I of the Kentucky Constitution on Wednesday evening prior to the debate.

Kentucky Equality Federation condemns comments by Representative Joseph Fischer (R-Fort Thomas) related to people being able to 'change their sexuality' in an on-going debate with his opponent Linda Klembara (D-Fort Thomas).

Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer stated "Representative Fischer stating 'It's OK to fire someone if they're gay,' reminds me of something you'd read that someone said in a previous century; forced segregation, unequal pay for women, elitism, and sexism was also said to be OK." Palmer also stated "We live in a republic founded on tolerance and the embracement of diversity; the comments made by Representative Fischer are a slap in the face to the people who lay their lives on the line everyday to protect the ideals the founders of our nation had."

Representative Fischer also stated "Historically, homosexuals haven't been discriminated against like women and blacks. They haven't suffered." During World War II the deaths of 15,000 gay men in concentration camps are officially documented, though unofficial numbers reach as high as 600,000. German soldiers were known to use gay men for target practice, aiming their weapons at the pink triangles their human targets were forced to wear.

"Representative Fischer obviously has no clue what he's talking about," stated Palmer. "Does Representative Fischer know who Timothy Blair, Charles Poynter, Blaine Thackery, Jesse James Valencia, Guinn Phillips, or Barry Winchell are? They are native Kentuckians or people who where in Kentucky and murdered for their born sexual orientation. I'd really like to know Representative Fisher's definition of "suffer," stated Palmer. "By Representative Fisher stating the gay community hasn't suffered he is in fact stating the gay community hasn't suffered enough; I'd like Representative Fisher to provide us with a number of exactly how many people need to suffer before he will acknowledge it."

Representative Fischer also stated "Obviously, people can change their sexual orientation, some psychologists have said so." In response, Kentucky Equality Federation challenges Representative Fischer to change his sexual orientation to homosexual for the next 48 hours.

The American Psychological Association in its Resolution on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation, which is also endorsed by the National Association of School Psychologists, states: That the American Psychological Association opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, and mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation.

Members of Kentucky Equality Federation and other fair-minded Kentuckians will be assembling and exercising their First Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution and Section I of the Kentucky Constitution on Wednesday evening prior to the debate.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation and Northern Kentucky University Reach Agreement

Kentucky Equality Association/Federation President Jordan Palmer stated today that he is now satisfied with Northern Kentucky University's response to an incident involving a gay student.

On August 28th, Jeremy Phillippi said he found "(this word omitted by Kentucky Equality) you fag, I hope you get AIDS" on his dorm room door and that the decorations on a bulletin board had been torn down. Phillippi is a resident adviser at the university and a member of Common Ground, Northern Kentucky University's Gay-Straight Alliance.

Phillippi filed a complaint with the Federation to push NKU administrators to take a more aggressive stance against acts of discrimination, intimidation and hatred.

The Kentucky Equality Federation requested university management assume a more "hands on" role in the investigation and issue a public statement condemning this action with consequences of targeting students because of their sexual orientation or gender identity clearly identified.

"After speaking to Vice President of Student Affairs Mark G. Shanley, I have a much better understanding of the situation," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "We had a very friendly, candid conversation about the incident and will keep an open dialog. I thought Mr. Shanley was both receptive and supportive, having made himself personally available to Phillippi if he encountered any additional problems."

Vice President Shanley and Dean of Students Kelso stopped by a Common Ground meeting this week and spoke with them about discrimination, tolerance, and a variety of other topics.

Palmer's comments where echoed by Common Ground's Co-President Mike Volmer yesterday during a telephone conversation with Palmer.

"Because the reported misconduct also represents behavior inconsistent with our University's values, it is important that we also respond in a manner that sends a clear message reaffirming the importance of civilized behavior toward all individuals and discouraging behavior which threatens the freedom and respect that every individual deserves. When the investigation into this complaint is completed, I will personally communicate this message to the entire Northern Kentucky University community," stated Northern Kentucky University President James C. Votruba.

Phillippi partnered with another resident adviser to facilitate a two-day program focused on diversity, tolerance, and AIDS with the University Housing Department providing funding, marketing support and serving as co-sponsor.

Palmer stated Kentucky Equality Federation would continue to support its members and Gay-Straight Alliances across Kentucky.

Palmer and other management from Kentucky Equality Federation still plan to meet with members of Common Ground's Board to discuss monetary and material ways the federation can support the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation Provides New Service to Report Hate Crimes, Discrimination, and School Bullying

Kentucky Equality Federation (formerly Kentucky Equality Association) is now officially offering to serve as a "buffer" between victims of hate crimes, discrimination, and school bullying.

Kentucky Equality has successfully settled nine complaints submitted by members across Kentucky so far in 2006 with two others still pending. Until today however, Kentucky Equality offered no official online form or specific manager to handle the complaints. So far, none of the cases have required lawsuits.

Given the fact that Kentucky Equality Federation has received so many official complaints and general inquiries this year alone, the Board of Directors believes this is the next logical step. "If the people need us to serve in this capacity, then we will step up to the plate," stated Nancy Couch, Secretary of the Federation.

Kentucky Equality believes a lot of incidents go unreported each year throughout Kentucky because of bad experiences in reporting them, others fear being "outed" or reprisals from their perpetrators. However, unless people do report it, there will be no true record of the extent of the problem and nothing will be done to address it.

"Some children and teenager's, especially in small Kentucky communities are afraid to go to the police, or take legal action when they suffer from or witness discrimination, school bullying, and even hate crimes," stated Jordan Palmer, president of Kentucky Equality. "Schools throughout the commonwealth are particularly quick to dismiss school bullying related to a child or teenager's gender identity and sexual orientation; we want to make sure their complaints are taking seriously, and make sure local officials stop it with more than just a slap on the wrist."

Kentucky Equality will keep all specific information submitted by victims confidential unless violence or a life is at risk. "If the person wants our help, we will do everything possible and necessary to keep their names confidential, and bring every resource to bear on the issue," stated Palmer. "Kentucky Equality Association/Federation isn't just about fighting for civil rights, we stand united together when one of us is attacked, in whatever form."

Kentucky Equality believes teaching tolerance and acceptance is critical at high schools, colleges, and universities; last week the Federation matched operating budgets for Eastern Kentucky University's "EKU Pride Alliance," and Boone County High School's "Gay-Straight Alliance."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Boone County High School in Northern Kentucky Approves Gay-Straight Alliance

Students at Boone County High School in Northern Kentucky celebrated victory after members of the Boone County High School Site-Based Council unanimously approved the formation of an in-school Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) last night.

The Boone County High School was under direct threat of being sued by the Kentucky Equality Association for delaying the formation of the club for over 3 months.

The victory however belongs to Nick Herweck, a student at Boone County High School, and a senior member of the Kentucky Equality Association.

Herweck had an unprecedented amount of support from organizations and groups across two states, including the AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky University's Pride Alliance, Northern Kentucky University's Common Ground, Cincinnati's Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a representative from Social Services, various community members, and the Kentucky Fairness Alliance filled the commons area of the school to support the formation of the Boone County High School Gay-Straight Alliance.

"It was both remarkable and wonderful to see various groups and organizations from two states in the same room to support such a wonderful cause; to make sure our gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, and questioning teenagers have a school club were they are accepted, and can talk freely in a non-threatening environment," stated Jordan Palmer, President of the Kentucky Equality Association/Federation. "Nick Herweck sets a positive example for all teenagers in being responsible and active environmentally, socially, academically, and politically; Nick is remarkable in every measurable sense of the word."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation's Founder Injured in a Car Accident

Gay civil rights leader Jordan Palmer, founder and president of the Kentucky Equality Association (now Kentucky Equality Federation) was injured with multiple lacerations around 11:45 p.m. late Saturday night on Turfway Road in Florence, KY after the car he was a passenger in was hit by a driver arrested on the scene for driving while intoxicated.

Neither Palmer nor Robert Chapman from West Virginia, the driver of the car Palmer was in were drinking alcohol or under the influence. Florence police arrested the driver of the automobile who collided with them after he allegedly failed sobriety tests.

Palmer is still expected to attend a meeting at Boone County High School on Friday evening, a high school the Kentucky Equality Association is threatening to sue for dragging their feet on the formation of a student organized Gay-Straight Alliance.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation Condemns the Federal Marriage Amendment and Expresses Outrage Over Comments Made by U.S. Representative Davis

The Kentucky Equality Federation expressed outrage and regret today to its members and supporters for the response they received from U.S. Representative Geoff Davis [part of Kentucky's Congressional delegation for his response to their opposition to the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment.

In an email response to constituents, U.S. Representative Davis stated: "I am committed to protecting traditional marriage. I proudly supported the Same-Sex Marriage Amendment proposal in Kentucky in 2004 and was pleased to see it pass with 74% of the vote. For too long the courts have gone unchecked when they exceeded their constitutional boundaries. Our Constitution established a government of the people, for the people. It is a shame that we need to resort to amending our Constitution to define marriage. However, a judiciary run amok must be reined-in."

"One must wonder what U.S. Representative Davis thinks the judiciary is here for," stated Jordan Palmer, federation president. "It is the principal function of the judiciary to interpret our laws and constitution, and they are doing so. Our members and supporters haven't been so outraged since Governor Fletcher refused our request to veto funding to the University of the Cumberlands." The Kentucky Equality Federation believes the anti-gay marriage movement comes from the religious belief that homosexuality is a sin, immoral, harms children, and spreads disease.

The Federal Marriage Amendment is an attack on the sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which recognizes gay marriages, as well as the states of New Jersey, Vermont, California, and Connecticut, that have passed civil unions or similar partnerships.

The Kentucky Equality Federation is committed to organizing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and fair-minded vote throughout the commonwealth. The Association's Board of Directors ratified a statement condemning the Republican attempt to appeal to right-wing voters ahead of November's congressional ballot, and for using the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community as a political punching bag.

Same-sex couples cannot fully participate in society if they are denied the rights and responsibilities offered to heterosexual couples.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Kentucky Equality Association Issues Notice and Information to a Northern Kentucky High School

After receiving reports that officials at Boone County High School could be delaying the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance ("GSA"), the Kentucky Equality Association has sent a letter and information pamphlets to the school's principal. The information sent to the school is entitled "Just the Facts" and has been endorsed by the American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, National Association of Social Workers, and the National Education Association, among others.

The federal Equal Access Act requires schools to treat GSA's as they would any other school group, according to the letter sent Tuesday to Ms. Peggy Brooks the principal of Boone County High School.

The Kentucky Equality Association/Federation believes delaying or denying the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance would also violate the Kentucky Education Reform Act.

According to information obtained from the school's website, 16 clubs are currently active in the school including a club dedicated to the animated cartoon, Anime.

A GSA provides a place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation, and work to end homophobia. Many GSA's function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who are struggling with their identity as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

Federal courts have repeatedly ruled in favor of GSA's where schools tried to block their formation, upholding students' right to form the groups in Salt Lake City, Utah, Orange, California, Franklin Township, Indiana, and Boyd County, Kentucky.

The Kentucky Equality Association has offered to make additional information available to any official or student of Boone County High School. "The Kentucky Equality Association will be pleased to provide information and data sheets about GSA's to any other school official or student in the commonwealth," stated Jordan Palmer, association president.

The Advisory Council of the Kentucky Equality Association will continue to monitor the formation of the GSA club at Boone County High School through its members.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Kentucky Equality Association to Lead Protest During the Kentucky Governor's Annual Derby Breakfast

The Kentucky Equality Association believes Governor Fletcher violated his oath of office by not vetoing funding to the University of the Cumberlands. By not vetoing the funding, Governor Fletcher has indicated that he has no qualms with the discriminatory practices of the University of the Cumberlands.

The University of the Cumberlands discriminates against homosexuals, and "reserves" the right to discriminate against women in their undergraduate admissions program. The University of the Cumberlands dismissed Jason Johnson after administrators discovered he was homosexual on the popular social networking web site This was reported to the Kentucky Equality Association at 5:18 PM the same day.

Members and friends of the Kentucky Equality Association (legally Federation for Kentucky Equality, Inc.) leaped into action. Our members sent more than 100 emails to Governor Fletcher asking him to veto the $11 million dollars in funding scheduled to go to the private Baptist school. In addition, more than 30 members personally called the First Lady's Office.

The Kentucky Equality Association believes Section 189 of the Kentucky Constitution is very clear to anyone whose first language is English on the constitutionality of funding private, religious schools: "No portion of any fund or tax now existing, or that may hereafter be raised or levied for educational purposes, shall be appropriated to, or used by, or in aid of, any church, sectarian or denominational school."

The Kentucky Equality Association will lead a silent protest march on May 6th during the Governor's Derby Breakfast.

Members of the Kentucky Equality Association attending the protest hereby invoke the following liberties granted by the Kentucky Constitution:

Section 1:
> The right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties.
> The right of freely communicating their thoughts and opinions.
> The right of assembling together in a peaceable manner for their common good, and of applying to those invested with the power of government for redress of grievances or other proper purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance.

Section 4:
> All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety, happiness and the protection of property. For the advancement of these ends, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may deem proper.

Section 8:
> Printing presses shall be free to every person who undertakes to examine the proceedings of the General Assembly or any branch of government, and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right thereof. Every person may freely and fully speak, write and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.

"This isn't a gay issue," stated Jordan Palmer, association president. "We take this as a slap in the face; no government money should be allocated to fund anything that cannot be enjoyed by all citizens of the commonwealth."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Kentucky Equality Assoc. Comments on Sen. Williams's Visit to the University of the Cumberlands and state Funding to a School that Discriminates Against Gay Students

Senate President David L. Williams (R-Burkesville) visited the University of the Cumberlands yesterday as reported by the Lexington-Herald Leader, to officially announce that the university will receive $11 million in coal severance money to start a pharmacy school. Ten million dollars will be for a building and $1 million will be for scholarships.

The university expelled a student in April for revealing he was gay on The Kentucky Equality Association, and other advocacy groups as well as members of the House and Senate urged Governor Fletcher to veto the $10 million dollar funding to build a new pharmacy school. The Governor has yet to announce his intentions.

"The commonwealth funding money to build a new pharmacy at a private university that isn't open to everyone is unacceptable," stated Nancy Couch, association media correspondent for the Kentucky Equality Association. "Whether the money came from coal severance or taxes is 'splitting hairs;' the source of the funds is irrelevant, the money belongs to every citizen of the commonwealth and giving it to a university that practices discrimination would prevent all Kentuckians from enjoying it. According to the Constitution of Kentucky all people are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights. To me that means everyone should have the right to attend any school funded by our government."

The Kentucky Equality Association would like to remind Senator Williams that he cannot guarantee the university will receive the funding unless the Governor has privately told him that he will not veto it.

"Here's the bottom line, we will not set back and watch our government give money to a school to build a pharmacy program that isn't available to everyone in Kentucky," stated Jordan Palmer, association president. "If the university receives this money, then we'll just have to let a judge decide the constitutionality of it."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation Calls on Kentucky Governor Fletcher to Veto Funding to the University of the Cumberlands

The Kentucky Equality Organization has joined the Kentucky Fairness Alliance in calling on Governor Ernie Fletcher to veto the $11 million dollars currently allocated to the University of the Cumberlands. The college recently expelled a student for revealing his sexual orientation on the social networking web site

Twenty year old Jason Johnson, an openly gay student has been on the dean's list for two years, but because Johnson was asked to leave mid-semester, he will receive a failing grade. Johnson's partner, Zac Dreyer first reported the incident in a group forum of the Kentucky Equality Association on April 06, 2006.

According to the Kentucky Constitution, sending funds to this school could be illegal. Section 189 of Kentucky's Constitution states: "No portion of any fund or tax now existing, or that may hereafter be raised or levied for educational purposes, shall be appropriated to, or used by, or in aid of, any church, sectarian or denominational school."

The University of the Cumberlands is not a public college; it is a private college associated with the Southern Baptist Convention and is clearly not open to all citizens of the commonwealth.

Association founder and President Jordan Palmer stated that he had been very supportive of the governor in the past, but failure to veto funding for the university might change that. "I don't see how the governor could possibly not veto the funding for the university in the budget, approving it would be unconstitutional," Palmer said.

"I realize the governor is a priest, and I personally have no objection to funding schools that are "spiritual" as long as the school follows Biblical teachings, and those teachings tell us not to judge others, and to follow "The Greatest Commandment" as stated in Mark 12:28 - 12:34," stated Palmer. "The Greatest Commandment tells us to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It also says to love your neighbor as yourself."

Palmer, whose father is a minister, also attended a Methodist High School. He founded the Kentucky Equality Association in November 2005. The Kentucky Equality Association currently has more than 1,300 members and supporters throughout the commonwealth.