Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kentucky Equality Federation today urged the Kentucky House of Representatives and the Kentucky Senate to make gay and lesbian civil rights in the current legislation session and to heed to warning given by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"The leader of the United Nations and ultimately the leader for a peaceful world is calling on all States to recognize gay and lesbian people as equals," state Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "The Secretary-General works worldwide and supervises a staff of more 45,000 people and is responsible for administering worldwide peacekeeping operations, resolving international disputes, economic development, world health, and spokesman for the interests of the world's peoples, yet he has made clear that sexual orientation and gender identity are at the top of his Administrations priorities. The Kentucky House and Senate would be wise to heed his warnings and positions."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made clear from the beginning the protecting gay and lesbian people is a priority for his administration.

In September 2010, the Secretary General stated:

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.

On Sunday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that laws against homosexuality violate the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

"Let me mention one form of discrimination that has been ignored or even sanctioned by many States for far too long, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This has prompted some governments to treat people as second-class citizens, or even criminals," he said. "Confronting this discrimination is a challenge. But we must live up to the ideals of the Universal Declaration."

United Nations member States must abide by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights or face prosecution from the United Nations International Criminal Court, or the United Nations International Court of Justice.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop Frankfort Smoke and Mirrors on Job Creation & Protect LGBTI Citizens

Jordan Palmer, President

Joshua Koch, Vice President of Policy & Public Relations

Lexington, KY -- “Jobs continue to be my top priority,” Governor Steve Beshear said during his “State of the Commonwealth” address on January 4. Governor Beshear stated that about 387 programs costing almost $4 billion in total over three years, in an effort to “create or retain more than 30,000 Kentucky jobs.”

The sheer cost of this “success” per job is staggering, at over $133,333 per job saved or created. Since the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics mean annual wage estimate for Kentucky was $37,970, it seems that Kentuckians are not getting a square deal with these programs. Considering that the median hourly wage estimate, a more accurate indicator, was only $14.47, it indicates that the median Kentucky worker’s annual income is closer to $29,000, a much lower figure. Judging by this number, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is currently losing over $14,000 per year per job saved or created utilizing these programs, meaning that each job is being purchased at an almost 50% markup.

Is there no other, more cost-effective way to protect jobs in Kentucky?

Currently, Kentucky law does not protect the employment of Kentucky citizens unjustly terminated for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Kentucky Equality Federation requests the Kentucky Senate, who has always opposed such a measure when proposed in the Kentucky House of Representatives, fix this loophole in human rights.

However, the Kentucky Senate has failed to act, not only to protect LGBTI people from employment discrimination, but against federal intrusion into destroying Kentucky's jobs and possibly its economy, and without legislation to sign, Governor Beshear is effectively helpless to do anything more.

Kentucky Equality Federation applauds Governor Beshear’s executive order protecting people in Kentucky Government because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Governor Beshear is an effective leader, but his ability to create and protect jobs is also dependant on the Kentucky Legislature and protecting LGBTI jobs has always been met with resistance in the Senate.

If the Kentucky Senate would join the House of Representative and the Governor about serious and cost-effective job retention, the Senate would address the growing trend by out-of-state corporations to discriminate against and wrongfully terminate LGBTI employees.

By acting, the Kentucky Senate would be much more expedient and simple than executing 387 distinct programs at an enormous cost, and it would further establish our shared Kentucky legacy of respecting human equality and dignity.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a sovereign State not directly subordinate to the federal government. Citizens of the Commonwealth should watch the "State of the Commonwealth" address, because for the daily lives of Kentuckians, it is perhaps more important that the "State of the Union."

The Commonwealth is only so sovereign however as its state Representatives and state Senators make it (just as the State of New York and the State of New Jersey are now nullifying federal intrusion and overreaching federal legislation).

The Kentucky Legislature should do the same with it comes to our economy, protecting existing jobs and extending protections for the Commonwealth's LGBTI citizens because at the end of the day we are all Kentuckians.

Action Alerts:  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Will Wal-Mart's Discrimination Record Change in 2012?

Jordan Palmer, President
Josh Koch, Vice President of Policy & Public Relations


Lexington, KY -- Many individuals are now engaged in that time-honored tradition, the annual crafting of the New Year’s Resolution. It is appropriate at this time to suggest such a resolution to a corporation who reputedly employs over 30,000 Kentuckians.

Wal-Marts in Kentucky have had a dismal civil rights record in 2011, with associates of the company submitting eight discrimination and/or harassment reports about Wal-Mart to the Kentucky Equality Federation. Out of all employers in the Commonwealth, Wal-Mart has the highest number of reports, by a wide margin. Kentucky Equality Federation believes that Wal-Mart has shown that its internal systems for resolving issues of discrimination are broken in its Kentucky workplaces, and, judging by the increase in the reports and in their respective severity, the problem in this corporation is getting worse.

We urge Wal-Mart to enter 2012 with a commitment to justice and that it begin treating its LGBTI employees with the overdue respect and dignity they deserve. The time has come for Wal-Mart to take a stand against middle managers and senior associates who use morality as an excuse to harass and ruin the careers of good subordinate solely on the basis of lifestyles which do not affect their work. The workplace is not the place for religion-based punishment and compulsory moral indoctrination.

Kentucky Equality Federation received no discrimination reports from Wal-Mart's primary competitors, K-Mart, and Target. Kentucky Equality Federation also received no discrimination reports from regional competitors such as Meijer, Bigg's, or MagicMart.

If this pattern of abuses is not addressed and resolved, Wal-Mart will see that Kentuckians respond boldly and loudly when a nameless, faceless corporation allows toxic leaders and bullies to mistreat their fellow Kentuckians. Kentucky Equality Federation will not sit idly by in 2012 should Wal-Mart continue to turn reported blind eyes to the abuses of its employees in Kentucky. Should reports in Kentucky continue in 2012, Kentucky Equality Federation will respond.