Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kentucky Equality Federation demands action from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for discriminating against a gay person

Lexington, KY -- Kentucky Equality Federation expressed outrage today toward the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for discriminating against a gay male attempting to remove his sister's children from foster care.

Jeffrey Thompson of Louisville, KY was visited by a social worker who assumed he was gay. According to Thompson, the social worker never actually asked him.

The most disturbing item on the report is the social worker stating: "The relationship and roles of the adults [Mr. Thompson and his partner] are fraught with the possibility of long-term illness/disability and domestic violence."

"This is absolutely outrageous," stated Kentucky Equality Federation Founder and Public Advocate Jordan Palmer. "The Cabinet is apparently assuming the couple will contract HIV/AIDS. This is a clear bias against the LGBTI community. The Cabinet also pointed out that one of the adults not being a relative was also a cause for concern [Mr. Thompson's partner].... well, in foster placement, they are surrounded by strangers. I think the gay and lesbian community here in Kentucky is getting pretty sick of being discriminated against because of homophobia."

Palmer also added that the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled on same-sex second parent adoption, so Mr. Thompson's partner should not be a factor. (press release)

"Mr. Thompson and his partner have been together since April 29, 2008," added Chairman Richard Jones." Also, Mr. Thompson reports that neither he nor his partner have any health problems, and have never fought. The actions of the Cabinet are a direct result of bias against our community. I cannot believe the Commonwealth would rather have these children in foster care instead of their Uncle Jeffrey. The 'Overall Assessment' stated in the report is completely unacceptable, and assumes they will contract a deadly disease because of their sexual orientation."

Jeffrey Thompson stated: "I think that the cabinet didn't recommend placement because of the fact that Michael and I are homosexuals. I think the cabinet believes that homosexuals will contract a disease or have domestic violence in their lives, which has led them to say there is "concern" and deny placement." Thompson continued: "I would describe the demeanor of the social worker to be very assuming; he will draw his own conclusions without seeing or hearing the facts. He is very unhelpful and rude at times."

Several Kentucky Equality Federation Committee members specialize in child placement and adoption, and have been working with Mr. Thompson along with Chairman Richard Jones.

Kentucky Equality Federation calls on Inspector General Mary R. Begley, the Office of the Ombudsman, and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller to investigate the matter immediately.

Federation Founder and Public Advocate Jordan Palmer also sent a copy of the report to Kerri Richardson in the Governor's Communications Office about this issue.

"Mr. Thompson is ready and willing to cooperate with the Cabinet and make any reasonable changes, in addition to attending child caring classes," added Jones. "However, the basis for the denial of placement is itself discriminatory."

Louisville based Jeff Johnson, Kentucky Equality Federation's Regional Director for the Bluegrass Region has also been briefed about the case and will also maintain contact with Jeffrey Thompson and his partner.

NOTICE: Reports are attached. However the names of the children cannot be released, and anything that contains their name(s) has been blacked out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kentucky Equality Federation Calls on Kentuckians to Join the National Boycott Against Target and Best Buy THIS Weekend!

A nationwide boycott is being called for THIS weekend against a Political Action Committee (PAC) made up of several businesses, including Target and Best Buy, called MN Forward.

The boycott is being called nationwide because Target and Best Buy contributed a lot of money to Minnesota Republican Governor Candidate Tom Emmer. Emmer has aligned himself with radical anti-gay groups, including "You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, Inc.," a Christian group whose head, Bradlee Dean, has said it is acceptable to execute homosexuals in a manner similar to that in Muslim nations.

Target Corporation made a significant donation of $150,000 to Minnesota political action committee MN Forward, which funds television ads for anti-gay Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Best Buy also donated $100,000 to Emmer's campaign.

A national "no shopping" day of protest is set for this weekend, August 14th and August 15th against Target and Best Buy.

Other statewide gay rights organizations are joining the boycott, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has condemned the donations.

A Facebook group has also been created, which had nearly 55,000 members at press-time.

"This is about corporate responsibility, and if these companies, which once claimed to be 'gay friendly' wish to continue having LGBTI consumers, they need to be careful about whom they support," stated Kentucky Equality Federation founder, public advocate, and Board member, Jordan Palmer. "The actions of Target and Best Buy impact every LGBTI person in the United States, and we urge all citizens of the Commonwealth to boycott these stores this weekend."

Dean Byrd, Kentucky Equality Federation's co-President and Treasurer stated: "It is a slap in the face to the LGBTI community; I also believe that AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Kroger, and Thornton's should have been included alongside Target and Best Buy. Kentucky is the ONLY state Verizon Wireless donated money to a statewide political party (Republican), which currently, is completely anti-gay and homophobic especially the Kentucky Senate under the leadership of President David L. Williams."

Kentucky Equality Federation issued an alert about AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Kroger, and Thornton's on their Facebook page earlier today:

NOTE: Kentucky Equality Federation is Kentucky's largest all-volunteer grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex ("LGBTI") civil rights and advocacy organization. Kentucky Equality Federation is a diverse organization consisting of several corporations and groups with a common cause for Peace, Liberty, and Equality for All.