Monday, August 22, 2011

Kentucky Equality Federation Condemns Violence against Lesbian Couple in Southeastern Kentucky

Harlan, KY -- Kentucky Equality Federation today condemned violence against a lesbian couple in Southeastern Kentucky. The incident injured one person as well as one of her children according to the plaintiff who contacted Kentucky Equality Federation for assistance to act as public advocate on their behalf. In addition, Otis Doan the attorney for the accused stated: “Do you promote this kind of life? You are a lesbian and live in Harlan County? You still have custody of your children being a lesbian?” These events statements were made in open court today before Kentucky District Judge Jeffrey J. Brock.

"Kentucky Equality Federation urges and requests that John D. Minton, Jr., Chief Justice of the Commonwealth intervene immediately in the name of justice," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "The personal bias of a defense attorney is not relevant in open court and we have seen before the Drumhead Court-Martial mentality of justice for LGBTI people in Southeastern Kentucky. In addition, Kentucky Equality Federation is referring this case to Walter Atkinson with the U.S. Department of Justice as a hate crime because of the terms "Dike," "Pu__y Licking W_ores," and "If you wanna look like a man, then fight like one," being used among others. The accused appear to have targeted the lesbian couple because of their sexual orientation, and though the Commonwealth has a hate crime law that includes sexual orientation we do not have a single case of the Commonwealth’s Hate Crimes Law against the LGBTI community actually being used in Southeastern Kentucky. As we have seen before the family of the accused was granted special permission to have family present in the court room but the family of the plaintiff’s were not according to reports filed and statements made to Kentucky Equality Federation.”

Richard T. Jones, Chairman of the Board for Kentucky Equality Federation stated: “We stand united with Misty Turner, her family, and the entire LGBTI community in Harlan County and across the Commonwealth. Violence is not acceptable, it will not be tolerated. I also call on the Chief Justice of the Commonwealth and have asked President Jordan Palmer to forward this case to our U.S. Department of Justice contacts because we do not have faith in Southeastern Kentucky Courts to implement the Commonwealth’s hate crime law.”

Two Assistant Southern Kentucky Regional Directors, Will Taylor and Shannon L. McKinney are gathering additional information about the case and providing support the Turner family.  Kentucky Equality Federation's Children of LGBTI Parents Outreach Director, Julia Oiler Spiegel will contact the family tomorrow.

Will Taylor, Kentucky Equality Federation's Assistant Regional Director for Southeastern Kentucky covering the counties of Bell, Harlan, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, and Perry stated: "With the exception of Hazard, Southeastern Kentucky is a hostile region for the LGBTI community as well as the Latino community. Kentucky Equality Federation is currently also defending the Latino Community after the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided a Mexican restaurant in the City of Harlan; since that time Latino children are being bullied in schools. Many have protested, telling them to return to the United Mexican States. One child, in tears, stated: 'Where do I belong?'"

Related to the case in Harlan County, below is the report submitted to Kentucky Equality Federation (released with permission):

Subject: Hate Crime Report



Telephone: DELETED

Address: DELETED

County: Harlan

City: Pathfork

Appointment of Advocate: I hereby appoint Kentucky Equality Federation and its affiliates to act as my agent and official representative. All information submitted is truthful, and should it not be, I will personally indemnity Kentucky Equality Federation, its affiliates, Board members, Officers, and Volunteers.


Crime: I am a lesbian and have been with my partner for 5 1/2 years now. I have two small children, that we raise together as a family =) Accross the street from were we were parked, a party was going on and there was approx. 50+ people drinking and shooting fireworks. The crowd kept shooting fireworks in our direction, until one exploded near us, injuring my 2 children, several other family members, and my 80 yr old grandma. I addressed the crowd and told them to stop firing that they had hurt my children.. they proceeded to yell profanities at me including "We'll set everyone of the little Mother Fuckers on fire!" At this time my father walked toward the crowd, and in effort to stop him I went behind him, once I had got away from my car I was attacked by a woman saying she was gonna kill me.

At this time my partner tried to stop her, and we were attacked by at least 15 men. All yelling "If you wanna look like a man, then fight like one" We were also called lesbians, whores, "pussy licking whores" and dikes. No one else in our group was attacked but us. Then a gun was pulled and pointed at us and we were told "I'll kill your dike asses"... In the end, no shots were fired but my partner has suffered extensive contusions and at least one rib fracture, she is still undergoing treatment. I suffered from a closed head injury and intrasinus hemorrhage which is being treated now and damage is not yet determined. We were only able to identify 3 of the men involved. We pressed charges through the county attorney on July 5th. Today was our first appearance in court. A lawyer named Otis Doan is representing the other parties.. while testifying he questioned me about my lifestyle, he was very discrimating and ask me "do you promote this kind of life?" and made the comment "your a lesbian and live in Harlan county" then ask me if I still had "custody" of my children being a lesbian!!!

I was outraged but told him that it was called equality and I was not against any lifestyle. The judge did not stop his comments. One of the men was convicted to be sent to a grand jury for a felony, the other was dismissed, but we have to try and convict according to the county attorney. This has been a long process with a lot more to go. We need support for the gay community in this area. Otherwise, the court will use our sexuality against our case. PLEASE help us.. this was a hate crime and I believe the evidence should speak for itself. Thank you!! ~~


Anonymous said...

So when r u all leavin Kentucky?

Anonymous said...

yes I second that motion and take your lill' stupid ordinance in Berea with you.

Rev. Julie Johnson said...

I can't help but to notice that the bigots posting do not have enough courage of their convictions to use their names when posting, but rather post from the behind the coward's skirts of anonymity. Not surprising that. Worse though, and nearly as bad as what has happened to the family that is the victim of the vicious hate crime is the way this family are being treated in the courts! THIS IS NOT ONLY UNJUST BUT UN-AMERICAN!

Carmen Wampler-Collins said...

To the Turner family - I am so sorry to hear how you have been attacked and mistreated by the court. I hope you are finding comfort and support, and want you to know that there are other families in Kentucky who stand with you. My partner and I and our children will be following your case and hoping for a good outcome. We commend your bravery in taking the matter to court - your courage will help to build a better state for all of us - regardless of sexuality or lifestyle choice. Our thoughts are with you.

Julia Oiler Spiegel said...

I agree with Rev. Johnson. I stand behind Ms. Turner and her family in offering support and guidance through such a difficult time. I salute their courage in stepping forward and making a difference for not only their family, but other families across the Commonwealth. Ignorance will continue to exist as long as we give it permission to do so.

Edith Baker said...

Minister/Dr. Edith Baker
I am a native of Hazard, KY, a mother of one daughter and three granddaughters. I am retired from Morehead State University. I still have most of my family living in Hazard, KY. I am well aware of the ignorance that occurs in this area inside and outside the churches, schools and social settings. Sadly, the violent outcome of this type of ignorance is often justified in the name of Jesus. Yet I have never read where Jesus hit, hurt or degraded anyone or denied them human rights. In 2011 it is a sad testament to a 'Christian' nation that these incidents still occur.
I stand with Kentucky Equality Federation and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and all the just and right causes Christianity supports; against this evil. I denounce those who promote this ignorance and have supported this violence against other person. I stand with the Lesbian family in support of all the human rights they are entitled to, as Americans.
I stand in opposition to any person who would support any mob in their ignorant attack of innocent persons.

Anonymous said...

queers burn in hell according to the Bible.

Anonymous said...

I am a young woman, drug-free, and a current Dean's List college student. For the past 15 years of my life my mother and her girlfriend has raised me. I was raised with manners, self-respect for myself and respect for every other living being, and with christian morals and values. I will stand beside this Lesbian couple and pray for justice! God bless you and never give up!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:21pm:

Where exactly in the bible does it say "queers burn in hell"?

Have you ever actually read the bible?

Adam S. said...

The Bible never says that "queers burn in hell." It says in Leviticus 18:22 that laying with another man is an abomination. But, you know what? There are lots of things that are abominations that I'm sure are all activities that you partake in. Here's a few examples: Round haircuts and shaving, "You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard" (Leviticus 19:27). Football (in the tradition of a porkskin, and eating pork, "You shall not eat their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you" (Leviticus 11:8). Fabric blends, "You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall now sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kids of material mixed together" (Leviticus 19:19). Shellfish, "But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you" (Leviticus 11:10). Something I surely hope you don't abide by is the one about stoning to death your poor, disobedient children, "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him unto the elders of the city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our song is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put even away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear" (Deuteronomy 21:18-22). And, my favorite, that you're apparently not too familiar with, Matthew 7:1-2, "DO NOT JUDGE, OR YOU TOO WILL BE JUDGED. FOR IN THE SAME WAY YOU JUDGE OTHERS, YOU WILL BE JUDGED, AND WITH THE MEASURE YOU USE, IT WILL BE MEASURED TO YOU." I send my absolute best wishes and hopes for a quick, easy recovery to this beautiful, lesbian couple. And I certainly hope that they are justly served in a country that is based on equality (whether it be prevalent or not).

sis said...

I personally know this couple and they are two of the best people you could ever meet. They don't brother anyone and everyone needs to back off and let them live their lives. I love you guys and hope everything goes well.

Rev. Julie Johnson said...

Adam, you saved these old arthritic hands a whole lot of typing my friend! I thank you. I could not have done better my self. To my dear friend Julia and to Dr. Baker, this is going to be a long fight. Perhaps when all is said and done out here in California and my wife retires in 5 years or so she and I will join you and Jordan and the crew at Kentucky Equality out there to help fight the good fight! If Focus on the Family can import organizers from out of states to take our rights AWAY why can't WE go to other states and help them out with what we have learned in our fights?

Unknown said...

What a beautiful petal pattern that Cambria Orchid has!