Wal-Mart folds; Conservative Christian Groups Victorious

November 22, 2006

A group of protestors converged earlier this week on the Wal-Mart in Richmond, KY to protest the company's fair and equal treatment of homosexuals. Wal-Mart has been under increasing pressure from conservative Christians, especially after they expanded their diversity program in a deal with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Kentucky Equality Federation's Alliance Manager, Clarence Wallace, began receiving reports about the protest within hours of its development. The Federation also received approximately 21 emails from concerned members and citizens.

In electronic communication with Wal-Mart's corporate offices, Kentucky Equality Federation General Counsel Paige D. Marks asked Wal-Mart for guidance about the prospect of counter demonstrations.

"It is disrespectful and un-American that protests are being held so close to Thanksgiving [and scheduled for Black Friday], a day we commemorate the feast held at Plymouth in 1621 by the Pilgrim colonists and members of the Wampanoag people and marked by the giving of thanks to God for harvest and health," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "It is also unreasonable to think that companies don't want to do business with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ("LGBT") community; our money is as green as anyone's."

However, Wal-Mart folded yesterday!

A conservative group that had called on supporters to boycott Wal-Mart's post-Thanksgiving day sales to protest the retailer's support of gay-rights groups withdrew its objections Tuesday, saying the company had agreed to stay away from controversial causes.

The American Family Association, which had been asking supporters to stay away from Wal-Mart on Friday and Saturday – two of the busiest shopping days of the year – said it was pleased by a statement the company issued Tuesday.

While stressing its commitment to diversity and equality, Wal-Mart said in its statement that it "will not make corporate contributions to support or oppose highly controversial issues unless they directly relate to our ability to serve our customers."

Mona Williams, Wal-Mart's vice president of communications, said in a telephone interview that the company would continue working with the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and other gay-rights groups on specific issues such as workplace equality. "Going forward, we would partner with them on specific initiatives. ...As to opposed to just giving blanket support to their general operating budget," she said.

The corporate actions that had triggered the protest plans were little different from those taken by scores of major companies in recent years – Wal-Mart paid $25,000 this summer to become a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and donated $60,000 to Out and Equal, which promotes gay-rights advances in the workplace.

However, some conservative activists depicted Wal-Mart's engagement as endorsement of same-sex marriage and a pledge to give gay-owned businesses preferential treatment – assertions Wal-Mart denied in its statement Tuesday.

Conservative leaders had viewed Wal-Mart's actions as a betrayal of its own traditions, which have included efforts to weed out magazines with racy covers and CDs with explicit lyrics.

"This has been Christian families' favorite store – and now they're giving in, sliding down the slippery slope so many other corporations have gone down," said the Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America. "They're all being extorted by the radical homosexual agenda."

Justin Nelson, president of the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, said earlier Tuesday that conservative activists had misrepresented his business-oriented group as a leading advocate of gay marriage in order to tarnish Wal-Mart.

"Their campaign has not been to educate, but to mislead," he said.

Tim Wildmon, the American Family Association's president, said Wal-Mart had been responsive to conservative pressure on a different issue, approving use of the word "Christmas" in advertising and employee greetings this season after shifting to a "happy holidays" phrasing last year.

Another major corporation, Ford Motor Co., already is the target of an American Family Association boycott because it advertises in gay publications and supports gay-rights groups.

The Tupelo, Miss.-based AFA says 550,000 people have signed a pledge to boycott Ford and it takes partial credit for the company's financial problems. Ford spokesman Oscar Suris declined comment; an industry analyst, University of Detroit professor Michael Bernacchi, was doubtful the boycott was having much impact.

Former Kentucky Gay Health Leader Murdered


November 16, 2006

Commonwealth of Kentucky -- Dr. Emery Lane, the former president of Community Health Trust, which focused on Louisville's LGBT community and People with AIDS has been found beaten to death in his home.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. Lane, 75, was found by his housekeeper. He had been beaten with a blunt instrument police said. Cash, other items and his Jaguar were stolen.

Police in the commonwealth's largest city arrested two men in connection with the murder.

Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer called the murder a sad day for the commonwealth's LGBT community. "Dr. Lane shined much needed light on health issues that Kentucky's LGBT community faces. His dedication and compassion set an example for us all," stated Palmer.

Police have charged Gene Raymond Miller, 39, who they said knew Lane, and Bennett Shaw Bilbrey, 42, with murder, burglary, robbery and theft of Lane’s car, a Jaguar, according to Louisville Metro Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell.

Mitchell, reading from the arrest report, said the two men “unlawfully entered” Lane’s home on University Avenue, assaulted Lane, who lived alone, with a blunt object and left with an undetermined amount of cash.

Dr. Emery Lane knew his accused killer well — he wrote to Gene Miller in prison and provided money to care for Miller’s children. “Emery had definitely provided for (Miller’s) family. They considered him like family,” said Ken Plotnik, Lane’s attorney and friend.

In 1996, before leaving Community Health Lane presided at the unveiling of an AIDS memorial. In an interview at the time with the Louisville Courier-Journal he said that "Gays and lesbians have been invisible."

"More times than not, they have been driven to live in the dark. Some did live in the open, but they were received in contempt. Some have tried to mask who they really are by getting married … This memorial honors those people," he told the paper.

SOS

November 06, 2006

Tomorrow is an important day....instead of giving someone a Christmas gift this year, give them a gift that will help them for the rest of their life. VOTE TOMORROW! In order for us to move forward, we must change our elected representatives!

Who is running? Who do I vote for?

The Kentucky Secretary of State is the principal executive who supervises the Kentucky Department of State. The Secretary of State, an elected constitutional officer, serves as the Chief Election Official of the Commonwealth. The Secretary of State is the filing official for all candidates seeking an office to be voted for by the electors of more than one (1) county, members of Congress, members of the General Assembly and for all candidates seeking an office of the Court of Justice.

- Kentucky Registrar (provides names and information on everyone except Commonwealth's Attorneys, County Attorneys, and local officials)

- Kentucky House & Senate Voting Records (find out what legislation your current official has supported, sponsored, or endorsed)

Where do you vote? Visit the Kentucky Voter Information Center; type in the required information and it will tell you where to go.

How do I know who to vote for? After you visit the Secretary's website and find out who's running for office, look at your current officials voting record using the link provided. If you don't like the legislation your current official (assuming they are running for re-election) has proposed, supported, sponsored, or endorsed, vote for their opponent!

Help swing the election in House District 68 away from Joe Fischer.

October 28, 2006

In light of Representative Fischer's (R) biased, uneducated comments about homosexuality, Kentucky Equality Federation is asking all members in the Northern Kentucky region to donate time to helping his opponent, Linda Klembara (D) win the election. Anyone may volunteer to donate time to work in the telephone banks in the Northern Kentucky area.

"Please understand that Kentucky Equality is a non-partisan Federation of individuals, corporations, and organizations united in a common mission. However, when a candidate openly attacks our culture, Mission Statement, Core Values, or our Statement of Values, we must work to remove them from office regardless of their political affiliation. Representative Fischer has been a big supporter of anti-gay legislation, and will continue to be until we send a message to Frankfort that this will no longer be tolerated." - Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer "I encourage and implore each of you with any amount of available time to assist in swinging this election in favor of his opponent."

  • Northern Kentucky Chapter President Nick Herweck has agreed to volunteer!
    Secretary of the Federation Nancy Couch has agreed to volunteer!
  • Federation President Jordan Palmer has agreed to volunteer!

STATEMENTS:

Fischer:

  • I think it's OK to fire someone for being gay.
  • I favor the present law as it exists, I don't favor extending special civil rights beyond the traditional protected classes.
  • Homosexuals have not experienced the same type of "insidious discrimination in housing and employment" as blacks and women.

Klembara:

  • I don't ever remember consciously saying, "I'm going to be a heterosexual." I think we're all born who we are.
  • My faith would not allow me to condone prejudice against anyone.
  • I do not believe employers should be able to fire people just for being gay.

Forget about political party affiliations and ask yourself.....who will best represent my interests?

REPRESENTATIVE FISCHER / PROTEST RALLY AT NKU

October 24, 2006

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY October 24, 2006 -- Kentucky Equality Federation condemns comments by Representative Joseph Fischer (R-Fort Thomas)related to people being able to “change their sexuality” in an on-going debate with his opponent Linda Klembara (D-Fort Thomas).

Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer stated “Representative Fischer stating “It's OK to fire someone if they're gay,” reminds me of something you’d read that someone said in a previous century; forced segregation, unequal pay for women, elitism, and sexism was also said to be “OK.” We live in a republic founded on tolerance and the embracement of diversity; the comments made by Representative Fischer are a slap in the face to the people who lay their lives on the line everyday to protect the ideals the founders of our nation had.”

Representative Fischer also stated "Historically, homosexuals haven't been discriminated against like women and blacks. They haven't suffered.”

During World War II the deaths of 15,000 gay men in concentration camps are officially documented, though unofficial numbers reach as high as 600,000. German soldiers were known to use gay men for target practice, aiming their weapons at the pink triangles their human targets were forced to wear.

“Representative Fischer obviously has no clue what he’s talking about,” stated Palmer. “Does Representative Fischer know who Timothy Blair, Charles Poynter, Blaine Thackery, Jesse James Valencia, Guinn Phillips, or Barry Winchell are? They are native Kentuckians or people who where in Kentucky and murdered for their born sexual orientation. I’d really like to know Representative Fisher’s definition of ‘suffer,’” stated Palmer. “By Representative Fisher stating the gay community hasn’t suffered he is in fact stating the gay community hasn’t suffered enough; I’d like Representative Fisher to provide us with a number of exactly how many people need to suffer before he will acknowledge it.”

Representative Fischer also stated “Obviously, people can change their sexual orientation, some psychologists have said so." In response, Kentucky Equality Federation challenges Representative Fischer to change his sexual orientation to homosexual for the next 48 hours.

The American Psychological Association in its Resolution on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation, which is also endorsed by the National Association of School Psychologists, states: That the American Psychological Association opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, and mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation.

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ACTIVIST QUOTES:
“Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people. Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group. I've always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy." - Coretta Scott King (1927 - 2006), Activist and Widow of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr.

“You know, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender - people are people.” - Judith Light

“As anyone who is gay will confirm, being that way is not something you become, it is a set of emotional and physical responses that just are.” - Lance Loud

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” - Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

“The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.” - William H. Borah

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