Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lexington's billboard - homosexuality is a sin; abortion is murder

Joshua Koch, President

-> Click here for additional information on the leadership change.

Lexington New Circle Road Billboard
Lexington New Circle Road Billboard
LEXINGTON, KY - Lexington drivers have been subjected to an offensive and divisive message. Bluegrass Church of Christ posted a billboard condemning the LGBTI community and abortion using Old Testament references.

While we respect the right to free speech, we condemn Bluegrass Church of Christ for leaving out other parts of the Bible, a practice known as “prooftexting” in some Christian circles. There are plenty of passages extolling good behavior, such as helping the widow and orphan, aiding the sick, and forgiving others.

Likewise, there are portions of the Bible which also contain stories of graphic violence and practices which we question today. For instance, there are plenty of passages which describe beating people to death with rocks for minor crimes, amputating limbs for petty offences, endorsing polygamy, allowing incest to go unpunished, and recommending genocide and repression of women and certain ethnic groups. Is the Bluegrass Church of Christ prepared to endorse these Bible passages?

This is a grandstanding attempt by a local church to divide Lexington’s community and to provide moral cover for discrimination, asserting that homosexuality is somehow anti-God and making a vague comparison of homosexuality to murder.

Recently, a lesbian couple was kept out of a prom at a religious school for having the bravery to acknowledge their own identities. If the faith community of Lexington continues to silently tolerate this public humiliation and discrimination of the LGBTI community in our area, it will have abandoned Christ’s commandment to love your neighbor.

We call on religious congregations and groups of all faiths in the Lexington area to forsake and condemn these discriminatory actions.

We, as the Kentucky Equality Federation, condemn this ongoing pattern of persecution which is being carried out in the name of religion.

Kentucky Equality Federation names new President

London, KY (issued by the Board of Directors) -- The interim committee of Kentucky Equality Federation's official and permanent membership yesterday appointed a new president. The meeting was requested and urged by the Chairman of the Board of Directors on May 22, 2012.

Official and permanent membership meet once a year to elect the Board of Directors and the President. Between these times the interim committee handles most items with limited authority. The Board elects its own Chair (sometimes referred to a the Board President), Treasurer, and Secretary of the Corporation.

The Chairman of the Board is a non-executive Chairman with the President elected by official and permanent membership being the chief executive officer of Kentucky Equality Federation and its affiliates. Former President Jordan Palmer and the Board of Directors made sweeping changes several years ago to get Board members out of day-to-day operations and make the Board an oversight and legislative body for Kentucky Equality Federation and its affiliates. This included extensive changes to Bylaws, ratified by official and permanent membership.

At the time, former Chairman Richard T. Jones and Secretary Dean Byrd also called the changes necessary.

Former President Jordan Palmer called the changes "a must" to make the Board of Directors "a truly independent and oversight board; management can justify any action so long as management also makes the sum of board members. Without an independent body supervising management, management has complete authority to run amok without answering to anyone. Without an independent Board you effectively have a "clique," that can do or say anything without consequences. A key attribute of an effective board is that it is comprised of a majority of independent outsiders; a board with a majority of insiders is often viewed as being stacked with sycophants, especially in cases where the executive and the chair are the same person."

In 2011 Palmer also pointed out: "Most non-profits and private companies now have or are seeking independent boards. Most now require that a minimum of two-thirds be independent. Having a chair and a president who are one in the same is toxic to any corporation, non-profit or for-profit. I am proud of the changes we have instituted at Kentucky Equality Federation and our affiliates."

Kentucky Equality Federation also took advice from published reports resulting in sweeping changes in the role of the non-executive Chair of the Board of Directors:
SmartMoney, eHow Money, the International Non-Profit Society, and Harvard Business School concur the role of non-executive Chairperson and that of the President should remain separate. According to Harvard Business School and the International Non-Profit Society, "Appointing a ‘Non-Executive Chairperson of the Board' is the single most decisive step that a Board can take to force systemic and truly effective change in corporate governance.”

The interim committee of Kentucky Equality Federation's official and permanent membership confirmed Temporary President Joshua Koch as the ex officio President.

Limited text of the Interim Committee for Official and Permanent Membership:
Whereas President Jordan Palmer transferred unconditional and complete executive authority to Vice President of Policy and Public Relations Joshua Koch on May 07, 2012 as permitted by Board Resolution 2011-006 due to critical medical reasons.
Mr. Palmer has not established a date to return to Kentucky Equality Federation and official membership is not aware if Mr. Palmer will even return to his position as President.

If Mr. Palmer does not return to his position, this is truly the end of an era for equality and fairness in Kentucky. From Mr. Palmer protesting Governor Fletcher and later Representative Fischer (1) for saying 'gays had not suffered enough,' sponsoring a Soulforce Equality Ride, forcing school boards to allow Gay-Straight Alliances, rallying at Northern Kentucky University and the Hazard Pavilion forcing policy changes, organizing the first gay marriage license in Lexington and Louisville, assisting in restoring the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program (KADAP) to successfully pushing the first federal hate crime, the accomplishments and compassion of Mr. Palmer cannot be measured. These are only some of the accomplishments of a great man who puts the needs of others before his own.

Given the great accomplishments of Mr. Jordan Palmer as president, the interim committee prays for a speedy recovery and that if willing, he will return to Kentucky Equality Federation as its sitting President.

Resolved, Mr. Koch is the rightful successor to Jordan Palmer and since Mr. Koch is currently the Temporary President, we find him to be the ex officio President and chief executive officer as of this date. Mr. Koch may serve the remainder of Mr. Palmer's term and seek another term at the next official and permanent membership meeting in November 2012.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer takes emergency leave of absence; Vice President Joshua Koch to replace Palmer

RICHMOND, Ky. - Effective May 07, 2012 President Jordan Palmer will relinquish his executive duties at the Kentucky Equality Federation. Palmer is taking an emergency medical leave of absence.

Vice President of Policy & Public Relations Joshua Koch will be assuming Palmer's duties thereby making him the Temporary President in-line with Board Resolutions.

Details of the division of tasks are being finalized over the weekend, but Interim Chairman Todd H. Melton, Jr., and Koch will be working closely with the regional directors, outreach directors and all other volunteers to ensure service continuity.

"We are grateful for the leadership President Palmer has provided," Koch said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him, and we wish him a speedy recovery. His abilities and input will be sorely missed, but his primary concern has to be his recovery. Despite this setback, we will make every effort to continue the high quality of service."

  • Kentucky Equality Federation continues to be very busy this year, handling a number of hate crime and discrimination cases around the commonwealth. Several of the cases in southeastern Kentucky have garnered national attention, including a discrimination case at Hazard Pavilion and a historic hate-crime prosecution that was recently taken over by the U.S. Department of Justice at the direct request of Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer.

"My prayers are with President Palmer every single day," stated Louisville-based Central Kentucky Regional Director Jeff Johnson.

"President Palmer is a great man and it is difficult to imagine Kentucky Equality Federation without his dynamic leadership, said Todd H. Melton, Jr., interim Chairman of the Board. "Mr. Palmer truly loves his community and every person he encounters. The Board will coordinate with the Temporary President regarding the complaints and pending lawsuit against the Kentucky Department of Education as well as the Turner hate crime and other issues the Discrimination, Hate Crimes, and School Bullying Committee are investigating."

Read Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer's Statement: (.pdf) or (.xps)