Saturday, June 18, 2011

Statement on the actions of the City of Hazard

Hazard, KY -- Kentucky Equality Federation extends its thanks to Hazard Mayor Nan Gorman. "Hazard Mayor Nan Gorman is a women of integrity and class," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "She has stated that all people are welcome at The Pavilion and has been receptive, positive, and helpful from the very beginning."

The City of Hazard has suspended the employee who threw the two gay men out of The Pavilion for five (5) days without pay and ordered him to undergo ‘sensitivity training’. The city has also ordered a sign be posted stating all official rules and prohibiting excessive public displays of affection, be it same-sex or opposite-sex couples. The city also promises that all rules with be enforced in a uniform fashion and apologized for the conduct of the facility manager to the entire staff of CNN.

Kentucky Equality Federation requests that the city make good on its promises, and continues to demand that Mr. Kim Haynes be reassigned to another part of city government.

Only one woman and her family showed-up in opposition and their arguments were based on religion. In total, over 64 people drove by or showed-up to support the two gay men thrown out of the pool and more than 1000 people have signed an online petition demanding action by the city. (Online Petition by

"The Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky says 'United We Stand, Divided We Fall,' Kentucky’s founding fathers knew this to be true," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "The first time we allow anyone or anything, be it a government, group, or individual to deny even one person their inalienable human rights, we deny them their freedoms and strip them of their identity, humanity, and person-hood; when you inject religion into the factor, it is an attack on the very soul of Kentucky’s Constitution.

We thank the City of Hazard for taking these initial steps to show their good will, proof that some Southern Kentucky community’s embrace diversity.  We would never ask that Mr. Haynes be terminated because we must show compassion and love even if others do not."

Joshua Koch, a Kentucky Equality Federation political adviser to Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer, and Director of Public Relations/Media, also commented. "While we applaud the positive change in this decision from the City of Hazard, we recognize that this incident proves that we still have much work to do in achieving equality for all citizens. This is a sobering moment because we realize that this incident could have been avoided, but it has taught us all something about being good neighbors to the disabled and those different from ourselves. I encourage thoughtful reflection by all parties on the lessons learned, rather than a celebration of one faction or another winning. It is my opinion that the planned LGBTI pool party at the facility in question is an inappropriate gesture at a moment when reflection and grace would be more appropriate."

Kentucky Equality Federation congratulates the victims of this incident on bringing this to light, not accepting this mistreatment, and, ultimately, winning their appeal for equal treatment in the public forum. They are an example to us all.

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