Thursday, July 7, 2011

City of Hazard Signage and Sensitivity/Non-Discrimination Training

Hazard, KY -- Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer had a nice conversation with Hazard City Attorney Paul R. Collins today regarding the ongoing issue at The Pavilion in Hazard, KY. City Attorney Paul R. Collins stated today that new signage will be placed at The Pavilion soon.

Kentucky Equality Federation has offered to pay for the signage and recommend areas for its placement. Hazard City Attorney Paul R. Collins also stated that he had to replace his server because of all the public outcry and signatures gathered at Public pressure for this issue to be closed remains from other organizations and groups as well.

The signage must still be approved by the City Council, and Kentucky Equality Federation has requested that 'gender identity' be added along with sexual orientation in order to avoid future problems as well as legal action. Kentucky Equality Federation does not believe a lawsuit is always the best solution, especially when progress is being made.

Sensitivity/non-discrimination training for The Pavilion remains on-schedule for next week.

"Kentucky Equality Federation extends its thanks to City officials for acting in a responsible manner, and recognizing that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community of the Commonwealth are individuals also with human rights," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "The LGBTI community are your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family members, and the only thing we seek is equality and to be treated with the same dignity and respect as any other citizen."

City Attorney Paul R. Collins did request that executive orders, state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination be forwarded to him during conversations with Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. However, no law in the Commonwealth protects people from discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity so Kentucky Equality Federation could not furnish such laws.

Palmer added: "This is no way means the Queen City of the Mountains is backing off its commitment to treat all people equally in my conversation with City Attorney Paul R. Collins today. As Kentuckians we cannot allow the actions of any one person nor any one group to undermine the progress we have made.

We will achieve complete equality across the Commonwealth, but we continue to take our fight directly to the Kentucky House and Senate and not city by city. However, the City of Hazard, especially the Mayor has shown great respect in our struggle for equality. Earlier this year the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution saying that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have the same equal rights as anyone else and cannot be discriminated on the basis of their sexual orientation. The resolution passed by the United Nations will be added to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights just as the Organization of American States passed a similar resolution years ago."

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chastised States prior to the United Nations resolution, stating: "The responsibilities of the United Nations and the obligations of States are clear. No-one, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. No-one should be prosecuted for their ideas or beliefs. No-one should be punished for exercising their right to freedom of expression."

Palmer continued: "Currently, under Kentucky law is it perfectly legal to terminate someone or deny them housing, credit, or accommodations based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Smokers cannot be discriminated against, but the LGBTI community can be. It is time that Kentucky takes the lead again in the area of human rights just as it did in 1966 by being the first Southern state to pass a Civil Rights Act. The Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966 needs to be expanded again to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

We call on Governor Beshear to include the passage of a statewide equality law in his next State of the Commonwealth address in 2012.

Additionally, we call on Governor Beshear to issue an executive order granting hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples for hospitals that receive funding from the Commonwealth. It is time to move our Commonwealth forward and stop discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There was a time when only people of a certain sex and race could own land; women also could not vote, but in the name of equality we progressed and moved forward."

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