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.