Friday, April 20, 2012

Michigan-based neo-Nazi group's rally at Kentucky's Capitol

Richmond, KY - The Kentucky Equality Federation will not be participating in the counter-protest of the neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Movement from Michigan on April 21.

"We agree with Governor Beshear that they have a right to rally, according to the Constitution, but their appearance is certainly not welcome," stated Kentucky Equality Federation Vice President of Policy & Public Relations Joshua Koch.

Koch continued: "It should be noted that this roving band of miscreants are not native to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. While we will continue to confront and have confronted active hate groups here in Kentucky, we see no need to give this out-of-state sideshow any more attention than it has already received.

This group is a foreign nuisance and does not embody Kentucky values nor is it representative of typical Kentuckians. As such, we will choose to ignore it and work on real issues impacting the Commonwealth such as continuing to prepare our lawsuit against multiple Kentucky school districts, existing and pending hate crimes, and dozens of other school bullying and discrimination reports across the Commonwealth.

We ask other community members to refuse the confrontational environment which will give them the attention they crave. If no one shows-up to counter protest, it will be an embarrassment to the National Socialist Movement.

As a matter of policy we treat all hate groups, including last-years visit by the Westboro Baptist Church the same, we ignore them and deny them the attention they so desperately seek.

We ask the media to accurately portray them as a non-native street-theater act trying to foment discord in a state far from their own homes. Again, we ask all other citizens of Kentucky to ignore them for what they are: Foreign hatemonger's with nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon than invade our Capitol with the sole purpose of being confrontational and obnoxious."

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama described the group as the nation's largest neo-Nazi movement. "These are people who do nothing but go around and stir up trouble."

Friday, April 13, 2012

Two plead guilty in Kevin Pennington case. Kentucky being the first in the United States to use to federal hate crimes law.

Two of the Eastern Kentucky people who participated in the kidnapping and assault of Kevin Pennington because of his sexual orientation have plead guilty and by doing so have become the first in the United States to be convicted under the federal hate-crimes law.

Alexis Leeann Jenkins and Mable Ashley Jenkins, pleaded guilty to one charge of kidnapping and one charge of aiding others in causing bodily injury. The other two accused, David Jason Jenkins, and Anthony Ray Jenkins plead not guilty.

The pressure to make this a federal case came after months of failed talks and negotiations with Kentucky prosecutors. Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer officially requested federal intervention on August 24, 2011 and received an immediate response from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, GA.

Kentucky Equality Federation urged Deputy Chief Bobbi Bernstein with the U.S. Department of Justice as well as Walter Atkinson with the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately begin federal investigations.

"United States Attorney Kerry Harvey has shown enormous outreach and support of the federal hate crimes legislation," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. My community wants exactly what every other citizen wants, equality under law and to love and protect our families. My community does not seek the approval of hate groups or intolerant people, only the acceptance that we have the same right to the pursuit of happiness.

By any measure, this case being federalized is a major victory for Kentucky's LGBTI community, but the price for this victory was too high, Kevin Pennington has been devastated by the these events, simply because of his sexual orientation. United States Attorney Kerry Harvey and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have just sent a message to everyone, hate crimes will not be tolerated, and we thank everyone involved for listening to our request for federal assistance."

Kentucky Equality Federation Request for Federal Intervention:

"Kentucky Equality Federation extends its gratitude to Deputy Chief Bobbi Bernstein with the U.S. Department of Justice for taking our request seriously and acting promptly, as well as Walter Atkinson with the U.S. Department of Justice, and the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Kerry Harvey," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Indictments secured in Kentucky hate crime; the first for the Southern District of Kentucky

“People cannot assault people based on their sexual orientation,” stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. “Kentucky Equality Federation thanks U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey for securing indictments for such a brutal hate crime.  The indictments against David Jason Jenkins, and Anthony Ray Jenkins for the hate crime against Kevin Pennington happened yesterday.  We believe justice will prevail in this case under the direction of U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey.”

Kentucky Equality Federation requested the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice federalize the case because local Judges must keep the bulk of the population happy in order to remain in office. Prosecuting a gay hate crime in the Southern District of the Commonwealth would definitely damage their chances for re-reelection.

Southeastern Kentucky communities are primarily rural communities with municipal populations less than 10,000 citizens. Kentucky Equality Federation and its legal representation have witnessed before the manner in which these courts operates because Judges as well as the County and Commonwealth’s Attorney are elected to office and not appointed by the Governor or Chief Justice of the Commonwealth. As such, the Judges, County and Commonwealth’s Attorney must keep the bulk of the population happy with their service to the Commonwealth or they risk not being re-elected to office and taking a stand to protect victims of hate crimes, especially members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex community is politically dangerous to them, thus, justice rarely prevails.

Palmer continued: “This will be the first time the federal hate crimes status has been used in the Southern District of Kentucky.”

Kentucky Equality Federation Vice President of Policy & Public Relations stated: “Kentucky Equality Federation is the Commonwealth's largest advocate for equal treatment of all citizens. As our mission statement explains, “‘Kentucky Equality Federation believes all people are endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment free from oppression, discrimination, school bullying, and hate crimes, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, veteran status, political affiliation, or any other defining characteristic.’”

Kentucky Equality Federation Request for Federal Intervention:

-->> Additional comments should be directed to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Kentucky. Media may not contact Kevin Pennington. Kentucky Equality Federation will issue no additional comments on ongoing investigations or trials.

See previous press releases:

  1. U.S. Department of Justice responds to Kentucky Equality Federation's request for help with four (4) arrests in a Harlan County Hate Crime.
  2. Another Harlan County Hate Crime - Attempted Murder of a Gay Man - U.S. Justice Department notified.
  3. Kentucky Equality Federation to meet with Kentucky and U.S. Department of Justice officials about hate crimes.
  4. Kentucky Equality Federation communicates with the U.S. Department of Justice about Harlan County Hate Crime.

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NOTE: Kentucky Equality Federation is a member of "ILGA," the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a non-government observer at the United Nations with consultive status. ILGA is the world's largest and oldest Federation with more than 600 affiliates worldwide. ILGA continues to be active in campaigning for LGBTI rights on the international human rights and civil rights scene and regularly petitions the United Nations and governments. ILGA is represented in around 110 countries across the world.

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Please contact the Policy & Public Relations: (877) KEF - 5775 - Ext. 1.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kentucky Equality Federation files FCC complaint against Clear Channel Radio; host compared the LGBTI community to the KKK

Kentucky Equality Federation's Board of Directors yesterday overrode a decision by management to decline filing a U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) complaint against Clear Channel Radio, specifically, WLAP 630's host, Leland Conway, for comparing the Commonwealth's entire gay and lesbian community to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

On March 26, 2012, Leland Conway, spoke in favor of permitting Hands On Original to refuse service to another organization which hosts the Lexington Pride Festival, comparing the entire LGBTI community of Kentucky to a hate group, and not just any group, a group responsible for cross burnings, beatings, Black community suppression, intimidation, and terrorism. (previous press release)

On March 29th, Joshua Koch, Vice President of Policy & Public Relations a member of the Office of the President issued the following statement: "Instead of apologizing, Conway announced an impending resignation from WLAP to begin working for another station in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Due to the changed nature of the situation and considering the surprise announcement, Kentucky Equality Federation will no longer pursue an FCC complaint, at this time. We take offense when spokespersons use drastic and needlessly hateful language to objectify an entire civil rights movement, and we hope this shift in programming will lead to a more civil media presence in Lexington."

Kentucky Equality Federation Central Kentucky Regional Director Jeff Johnson reiterated that Kentucky Equality Federation has no intention of getting involved in a dispute between the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) and Hands On Original. A complaint was filed and is best decided by the Lexington Human Rights Commission of any legal wrongdoing. The LGBTI community will however remember the decision of Hands On Original ownership whether or not they are found to be in violation of a local city ordinance.

At Kentucky Equality Federation the six (6) member Board of Directors is an independent supervisory Board. (view in .pdf) or (view in .xps) The President is an ex-officio member of the Board but may only vote to break a tie. Both Republicans, Democrats, and Independents voted unanimously to order the Office of the President to file a complaint.

The complaint was filed today electronically in accordance with the U.S. Paperwork Reduction Act:

Acknowledgement of Submission from Kentucky Equality Federation on 04/05/2012, Reference Number: 12-C00387121.  FCC Submission Confirmation: 2000E

Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer stated:  "The Office of the President will enforce and follow Board policy, resolutions, and administrative regulations regardless of personal feelings, that is our job as officers of the corporation as well as volunteers. The LGBTI community is not a hate group, we never have been and any comparison is unacceptable. However, after Conway announced his departure, management decided to drop the issue because our resources are spread to the limit with multiple hate crimes, multiple school bullying complaints in which the Principal did not follow Kentucky law and report the bullying to the County Attorney, and over a dozen discrimination complaints in employment around the Commonwealth. However, we will proceed as ordered and redistribute resources accordingly."

The Board of Directors deferred to an original internal statement from the Office of the President by Vice President Joshua Koch to proceed:

Clear Channel Radio is the corporate operator of the Lexington cluster of stations in question. Under normal circumstance, an individual is entitled to free speech and assembly. However, there are limits to this. For instance, slander, libel, and incitement to violence cross the line. How much more so on a radio station? While the LGBTI community cannot be slandered, in the legal sense, due to its size, comparing the community as a whole to a hate group such as the KKK is decidedly not "in the public interest," the terms of the broadcast license. At Kentucky Equality Federation we are obligated, for the community, to respond.

Such terms are loaded with implicit connotation and cultural coding. Whether or not this is "inflammatory" entertainment or not, it denigrates a vast swath of innocent people that Kentucky Equality Federation defends.

This is demagoguery, but it is worse than simply overstating a case to the court of public opinion. This was done under the cover of an analogy, but there is no excuse for this behavior.

This is the purposeful use of a monopolized radio market, supposedly administered in the public interest, for the targeting and smearing of an entire community. Such outlandish behavior will not be tolerated.

Kentucky Equality Federation Vice President of Policy & Public Relations Joshua Koch stated: "As part of the Office of the President I respect and support President Jordan Palmer as well as our Board of Directors and we will proceed as ordered.

The comparison WLAP 630's host, Leland Conway made was well-couched, but he knew what was being done. He even stopped before he said it and qualified it as an extreme instance, and then proceeded to go ahead and say it anyway. It was a comparison, cut and dry, and he knew what he was doing, otherwise he wouldn't have qualified it."

Palmer continued:  "Even if the FCC rules that Conway's comparison was free speech, we still took at stand for our community. In some States (including foreign nation-states), such a comparison could have caused a riot."