Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kentucky Equality Federation names Political Consultant, Public Relations and Media Director

Richmond, KY - Kentucky Equality Federation today announced the appointment of Josh Koch as Special Political Consultant to the President, Public Relations and Media Director.

The appointment of Mr. Koch was made by Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. Any officer or managing director may appoint special advisers, consultants, assistant, interns, and other volunteers to be attached directly to their office without Board confirmation.

In the separate position of Public Relations and Media Director however, Mr. Koch will enjoy the same significant latitude in making decisions regarding public relations and media as Regional Directors and Outreach Directors in their respective regions. Mr. Koch's position as Public Relations and Media Director however covers the entire Commonwealth.

Josh Koch most recently served as the co-Chair of the Libertarian Party of Kentucky but did not seek re-election to that office. Currently Mr. Koch currently holds no titles with the Libertarian Party of Kentucky.

"We formed an official alliance with the Libertarian Party of Kentucky in 2008," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "They are always there to support us in the name of equality to have a statewide law passed to protect LGBTI people in Kentucky from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity along with Senior and Junior Democrats in the Kentucky House of Representatives."

Palmer continued: "I have never met a person who is more objective with clarity of thought than Mr. Koch. Over the past year he has become a friend to me and everyone here at Kentucky Equality Federation; he believes in all forms of equality, both politically and socially."

Kentucky Equality Federation Chairman Richard T. Jones and Kentucky Equality Federation Transgender Outreach Director Tyler Watts also praised the decision. Kentucky Equality Federation has also received positive feedback from members, former and current Board members.

"At Kentucky Equality Federation we stand united as an organization, and embrace anyone or any organization that fights for equality," stated Chairman Richard T. Jones.

Kentucky Equality Federation places as much decision-making power as possible in the hands of Regional Directors, Outreach Directors, and now the Public Relations and Media Director (except as prohibited in the Federation Leadership Manual, Bylaws, or Board Resolutions).

As a grassroots organization, Kentucky Equality Federation shifts decision-making authority (as practical) to the organization's lowest geographic level of organization.

All Federation volunteers are required to follow a code of ethical conduct based on fundamental values such as honesty, integrity, fairness, inclusion, respect, trust, responsibility, common sense and accountability.

"I am humbled and honored to accept the invitation extended by Kentucky Equality Federation, stated Josh Koch."  Kentucky Equality Federation started as an LGBTI-focused anti-discrimination group, and it has branched out to defend various other victims of discrimination, as well. KEF provides a vital service of advocacy and proactive cooperation between many diverse groups in today’s society."

Koch continued:
"This may seem like an odd choice of involvement to some who know me, given my previous history of political activities, but it is a cause near and dear to my heart. Many people and groups are victims of discrimination. Some are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, sexual identity, race, gender, veteran status, or political identification (or lack thereof). Discrimination takes many forms, and it is necessary that the victims of such treatment strive for a better world where all groups, orientations, identities, creeds, and political groups can achieve equality.

My theory of equality is a proactive one. Let's use a political example. For instance, in theory, every person has a supposedly equal right to vote in our republic. However, institutional discrimination has systematically removed rights from vast swaths of our society. Independents and third-party members cannot vote in primaries and are prevented from appearing on the ballot in some states by draconian petition requirements, which effectively leaves these voters the option of just getting to choose between those two candidates “allowed” on the general election ballots, those two candidates selected by only the Democrats and the Republicans. This is false fairness, as the votes cast are not all absolutely equal in status.

This is not “equality.” Rather, it is discrimination dressed in the trappings of fairness. Whenever groups like independents, LGBTI individuals, minorities, third parties, and others are prevented from participating in all levels of societal discussions and functions, there you will find discrimination. Ironically, it is an experience shared by many members of different groups which have been pitted against each other for no good reason.

In the same way, "allowing" LGBTI couples to be together while preventing them from being allowed to work, have a home, participate in the political process, participate in society, or legally form a recognized, binding home unit (marriage contract) is not equality. A society which allows the selective denial of fundamental rights to some citizens while recognizing those rights for others is not truly equal or free.

This is our struggle for proactive equality, whether we are straight or LGBTI. These are our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers, and our fellow citizens. No color, gender, orientation, gender identity, veteran status, political identification, or any other facet of a person’s existence can be allowed to abridge their rights to participate in a free society with equal protections and truly equal status at all levels.

We need no special "new" rights for this to be accomplished. This is a struggle for equal protection under law, not the creation of a special status, as some argue erroneously. These rights exist inherently for us all, as they derive from a source more infinite than any society or government, or even a document. These rights must be codified, recognized, and accepted for our society to be truly equal, but the rights of an individual to be sovereign and secure in his or her person and property are not new. These concepts are at the very foundation of our nation:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776

As someone who cherishes rights, freedom, and equality, I accept the honor of serving with the Kentucky Equality Federation. They are proactive and tenacious in their struggle for “Peace, Liberty, Equality” for all. I hope I can live up to their expectations, and I look forward to working with my fellow volunteers in the cause."

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