Kentucky Gay Civil Rights Leader Elected to the Board of a National Organization

Jordan Palmer, co-founder and president of Kentucky Equality Federation has been unanimously elected to the Board of Directors of Marriage Equality USA. Marriage Equality USA was founded in 1998 and has chapters operating across the nation.

Jordan Palmer, co-founder and president of Kentucky Equality Federation has been unanimously elected to the Board of Directors of Marriage Equality USA. Marriage Equality USA was founded in 1998 and has chapters operating across the nation.

Marriage Equality USA seeks to "secure legally recognized civil marriage for all, at the federal and state level, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation."

Marriage Equality USA has made headlines in recent years for their fight to legalize equal marriage rights for the LGBT citizens of California, whose case is currently before the California Supreme Court arguing for the equal right for LGBT people to marry in California. Marriage Equality USA is using a 1948 court ruling (Perez v. Sharp) that overturned a law prohibiting interracial marriage, concluding the right to marry the person of your choice is a "fundamental right of citizenship."

Palmer will be working alongside an army of national activists, including celebrities who are members of the Advisory Board to the Board of Directors of Marriage Equality USA, including Jason & Demarco, Ari Gold, and Brian Kent.

Some of Marriage Equality USA's other activities to date include:
  1. The first organization (joint effort with Lambda Legal) to institute a comprehensive grass roots marriage and media training program for activists.
  2. Began the Valentine's Day/Freedom to Marry Day Marriage License Counter demonstrations across the country; same-sex couples ask for marriage licenses from their city hall and county recorder's offices.
  3. Obtained support of our Marriage Declaration from council members, clergy, community boards, mayors, and other key people throughout the United States.
  4. Sponsored the first-ever Same-Sex Wedding Expo in New York, garnering solid support from gay and non-gay businesses.

"I think Kentucky Equality Federation's strategic alliance with Marriage Equality USA, as well as my appointment to their national Board of Directors is the first step toward repealing Kentucky's 2004 anti-gay amendment, as well as garnering additional support for non-discrimination laws, hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples, and other laws to bring complete equality to Kentucky," stated Palmer.

Palmer's appointment to Marriage Equality USA's Board of Directors is for two years. For additional information, visit www.marriageequality.org, or www.kyequality.org.

Healthcare Inequality Strikes Again

Today, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that same-sex partners could not get health benefits in government or public universities because of state’s 2004 constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage.

This decision is important to the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s LGBT population because conservative groups and lawmakers in Kentucky have been closely monitoring the Michigan Supreme Court case.

The Michigan Supreme Court’s 5-2 decision affirms a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling. Up to 20 public universities, community colleges, school districts and city governments in Michigan have benefits policies covering at least 375 gay couples. Some of the plans began as far back as the early 1990s.

After the appeals court ruled in February 2007, universities and local governments rewrote their policies to try to comply with the gay marriage ban (similar to what the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville did after the Kentucky Attorney General issued a legal opinion on this issue in 2007).

Former Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo referenced the Michigan court case, in addition to the Michigan Attorney’s General opinion in his 2007 legal opinion.

Michigan’s anti-gay law, which passed 59 percent to 41 percent, says the union between a man and woman is the only agreement recognized as a marriage "or similar union for any purpose."

Many have suggested the Family Foundation of Kentucky decided not to peruse their threat to sue the University of Kentucky and Louisville to stop domestic-partner benefits until the Michigan Supreme Court issued their ruling.

Kentucky and Michigan’s 2004 constitutional amendments against gay marriage are nearly identical, as are their policies toward local governments and public universities.

We will keep you advised of new developments.

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University of Louisville - Office of LGBT Services

Students at the University of Louisville are really excited about establishing the university's Office for LGBT Services and making its new home in the Red Barn on the Belknap Campus. Already, it's becoming a vibrant place where students gather to work on issues and projects and guests can stop in for help or information.

Would you like to help? Their vision includes a working resource library with books, DVDs, and other materials students can check out or use. But, in a time of budget cuts, they have no funds to purchase materials. So here's how you can help...
  • Would you consider donating anything from your own library that you aren't using anymore? Books you've already read, movies you've watched a hundred times, etc? Anything LGBT-themed that would be useful to students or even just entertaining.
To make it easier to deliver any donations, the university's Human Resources Department has offered to serve as a drop-off site.

For directions to HR, go here:
http://louisville.edu/hr/contact/directions.html
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