End Labor Discrimination in Kentucky

As you celebrate Labor Day, you should know that Kentuckians are not protected from discrimination in employment because of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the United States Government during the Pullman Strike.  Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.  Currently 49 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia also recognize Labor Day as a holiday.

More than 115 years later however, LGBTI people in the both the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky can be terminated because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  You cannot be terminated for being a smoker in Kentucky, but you can be terminated for being yourself.

The LGBTI community makes a significant contribution to the economic welfare of the Commonwealth and our entire Union.  This year, Kentucky Equality Federation has invested significant resources representing people across the Commonwealth who filed complaints with our Discrimination, Hate Crimes, and School Bullying Committee for being terminated because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

It is time to "drag" our Commonwealth into the 21st Century by insisting the Kentucky Legislature add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966 as a protected class along with religion, smoking, disability, race, sex, ancestry, veteran status, and disability.

In 1966, Kentucky became the 1st state in the South to pass a civil rights law. The Commonwealth also became the first in the south to establish enforcement powers over civil rights violations on a state level. The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights becomes the state enforcement authority of the Act.

What happened to us? At what point did our great Commonwealth lose its leadership in the area of civil rights?

Along with religion, smoking, disability, race, sex, ancestry, veteran status, and disability, No ONE should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.

We urge you to sign to following action alerts from the site of our new partner, change.org to bring full equality to our great Commonwealth; it will only take a moment of your time to add your signature to bring change to Kentucky: 

  1. Add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966. 
  2. Repeal Kentucky's 2004 Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships.
We request that you immediately take action on these critical issues. The discrimination and exclusion of people because of the sexual orientation or gender identity undermine the integrity and dignity of our great Commonwealth.

Kentucky Equality Federation Calls on Kentuckians to Join the National Boycott Against Target and Best Buy THIS Weekend!

Lexington, KY -- A nationwide boycott is being called for THIS weekend against a Political Action Committee (PAC) made up of several businesses, including Target and Best Buy, called MN Forward.

The boycott is being called nationwide because Target and Best Buy contributed a lot of money to Minnesota Republican Governor Candidate Tom Emmer. Emmer has aligned himself with radical anti-gay groups, including "You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, Inc.," a Christian group whose head, Bradlee Dean, has said it is acceptable to execute homosexuals in a manner similar to that in Muslim nations.

Target Corporation made a significant donation of $150,000 to Minnesota political action committee MN Forward, which funds television ads for anti-gay Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Best Buy also donated $100,000 to Emmer's campaign.

A national "no shopping" day of protest is set for this weekend, August 14th and August 15th against Target and Best Buy.
Other statewide gay rights organizations are joining the boycott, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has condemned the donations.

A Facebook group has also been created, which had nearly 55,000 members at press-time. 

"This is about corporate responsibility, and if these companies, which once claimed to be 'gay friendly' wish to continue having LGBTI consumers, they need to be careful about whom they support," stated Kentucky Equality Federation founder, public advocate, and Board member, Jordan Palmer. "The actions of Target and Best Buy impact every LGBTI person in the United States, and we urge all citizens of the Commonwealth to boycott these stores this weekend."

Dean Byrd, Kentucky Equality Federation's co-President and Treasurer stated: "It is a slap in the face to the LGBTI community; I also believe that AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Kroger, and Thornton's should have been included alongside Target and Best Buy. Kentucky is the ONLY state Verizon Wireless donated money to a statewide political party (Republican), which currently, is completely anti-gay and homophobic especially the Kentucky Senate under the leadership of President David L. Williams."

  Kentucky Equality Federation issued an alert about AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Kroger, and Thornton’s on their Facebook page earlier today: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=142393382459414

NOTE: Kentucky Equality Federation is Kentucky's largest all-volunteer grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex ("LGBTI") civil rights and advocacy organization. Kentucky Equality Federation is a diverse organization consisting of several corporations and groups with a common cause for Peace, Liberty, and Equality for All.

Kentucky Equality Federation prepares to sue the Jefferson County Board of Education

UPDATE: Both the parents and the Discrimination, Hate Crimes, and School Bullying Committee of Kentucky Equality Federation are unsatisfied with Crosby Middle School's response. Kentucky Equality Federation has instructed its legal representation to prepare to sue the Jefferson County School District on behalf of the parents. (story and action alert)

NEW: In a discrimination case that is almost unbelievable, legal representation is also preparing to sue the Kentucky State Police for an incident in Richmond, KY which has not been made public. Details will follow once the lawsuit has been prepared and filed (by the middle or next month at the latest).

UPDATE: Federation management and volunteers will be present in McKee, KY (Jackson County) for the Cheyenne Williams trial on August 02, 2010. (more)

UPDATE: Hundreds with HIV/AIDS in Kentucky left to die and need your help! Kentucky has more than 1,500 people enrolled in its AIDS Drug Assistance Program (KADAP) for low-income HIV and AIDS patients. Today, more than 200 patients are on a waiting list to receive life saving medications. (action alert)

Three (3) action alerts await your urgent attention! (view)

View the Equality Center Home Page for additional updates and information!

Kentucky Equality Federation News

Kentucky Equality Federation is sponsoring the Alumni Event of the Kentucky Young Democrats on June 09, 2010 in Lexington. (more)

It is rare that we send official emails and communication. Instead of having fundraisers and "social hours," Kentucky Equality Federation is working to bring real change to the Commonwealth. This year we defeated House Bill 350, and we have served as public advocate for more than 20 people since the beginning of January 2010.

Kentucky Equality Federation is not an organization that emails its members when we make local, state, or national news (and we do very often). As such, we encourage you to subscribe to our official press releases (we do not email our press releases to our subscribers, you must sign-up to receive them separately).

To read about the Federation in the news, click here.

To further the Federation's long-term agenda, Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer is relinquishing most of his duties to serve as Campaign Manager for Matthew Vanderpool. All committees and volunteers will remain in place, so please continue to report Discrimination, Hate Crimes, and School Bullying to us.

President Palmer has been Mr. Vanderpool's Campaign Manager since November 2009. President Palmer is dedicating most of this attention to the Vanderpool for Kentucky campaign. Mr. Vanderpool easily won the primary election, but now faces the incumbent, anti-gay Representative Stan Lee which this Federation has fought in the Kentucky House of Representatives since it was founded.

Kentucky Equality Federation would like to thank our volunteers; Kentucky Equality Federation is an all-volunteer organization, and our Discrimination, Hate Crimes, and School Bullying Committee members have worked extremely hard this year.

The Board of Directors would like to take this time to thank each of them individually:

- Richard T. Jones, Special Assistant to the President for Administration and Communication
- Rick Wolfe, Special Adviser to the President for Discrimination and Youth Outreach
- Halyn Roth, Southern Kentucky Regional Director
- Matt Berry, Eastern Kentucky Regional Director
- Benjamin Brannock, High School and University Outreach Director


Dean Byrd, Treasurer and Secretary of the Corporation

To remain up to date on Federation news and events, we encourage you to join our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter!

2010 Legislative Update - Personal Message from the President

Dear members, allies, and supporters: 

During the 2010 Kentucky Legislative Session, we have fought. Our fight was brave, confident, and relentless; we stood before a majority, raised our hand and said....I do not agree.  Though setbacks will test our resolve, in the end we shall be victorious in the fight not only for marriage equality in Kentucky, but complete equality under law across the Commonwealth.

I challenged Senate President David L. Williams to pass the hospital visitation bill, an invitation he declined.  By declining my invitation, I believe Senate President Williams has signaled that the Kentucky Senate will in no way work with the LGBTI community, further indicating that no measure of equality will pass the Kentucky Senate so long as Republican's maintain a majority. (view press release)

Kentucky Equality Federation successfully killed House Bill 350 which would have stopped ongoing training and education requirements related to HIV/AIDS for licensed service providers such as physicians, registered nurses, social workers, etc. (view press release)   However,
Kentucky Equality Federation yesterday condemned Senate Bill 127 after Representative's attached House Bill 350 to the bill because the House Health and Welfare Committee refused to post it. 

The Kentucky House Health and Welfare Committee knew House Bill 350 was dangerous, refused to post it, and no one voted on it.  The Committee was wise enough to realize the requirements for licensed care providers must remain in place.  This is an underhanded technique used at the end of sessions to move pieces of legislation that haven't moved before by hiding them in other places.

The most stunning setback however was the refusal of the Appropriations and Revenue Committee of the Kentucky House of Representatives to allocate funds to the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program (KADAP).   As president of Kentucky Equality Federation, I, along with different volunteers visited the Kentucky Capitol on six different occasions to beg for funding.   

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Budget (federal and state combined) for 2008 was $6,872,876 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation at www.statehealthfacts.org.  In 2007, the total payout for the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program was $6,102,693.00, with all states contributing a total of $1,260,541,721.00. 

http://www.kentuckylgbt.org/ht/d/Contribute/pid/112237912 other brave organizations, individuals, and groups joined Kentucky Equality Federation in declaring KADAP a crucial and necessary program for Kentuckians living with HIV/AIDS.  (view press release)
The Kentucky Legislature funded over 3 billion in new road projects, but refused to allocate a dime to KADAP.  Though HIV/AIDS has not been a "gay only" disease for over a decade, I believe many lawmakers didn't fund KADAP in part due to House Resolution 232, also known as the Manhattan Declaration.

By adopting the Manhattan Declaration lawmakers slighted their constitutional oath, violating Article V of the Commonwealth's Constitution.
This right wing Declaration was an attack on religious freedom across the Commonwealth, and a direct threat to the separation of church and state. If you read the text of the "Manhattan Declaration," you will quickly realize their true values are homophobic, and just like all other dogma throughout history, they claim to do it in the name of righteousness; this time however they brought the fight to our Statehouse

If, in the fight to restore KADAP I have hurt feeling or strained political alliances, I shall lose no sleep over it.  As a public political figure I have many lives, yet as a person, I have but one, as do the people who depended on KADAP.  The Kentucky House of Representatives, or more appropriately, the Appropriations and Revenue Committee, terminated their lifeline.

A Call to Action:I urge you to vote this election year; no change will come to Kentucky so long as we allow elected officials to remain in office who violate their oath of office, condemn citizens to death (by not funding KADAP), or working to further their own political agenda instead of their constituents.

For too long people have only focused on federal elections, but what you fail to realize is that the state has more control over your daily lives than the federal government.   The
very idea of a democracy is that you personally know your local Constable, County Court Clerk, County Attorney, Sheriff, Jailer, Coroner, Surveyor, District Judge, Circuit Judge, Commonwealth's Attorney, City Councilmember, Mayor, Judge/Executive, and further along the ladder until you reach your state Representatives, state Senators, the Commonwealth's Congressional Delegation, the Governor and the President.

Neither the President nor the Governor can make public laws. Lawmakers are the ones who fund programs and create public laws; with this in mind, how many of you even know the name of your state Representative or state Senator in Frankfort?

"Change" will never come, equality never achieved, nor the quality of your life enhanced unless you know these individuals and vote for or against them.  I ask you to forward this message to your friends and family and ask them to sign-up for urgent communication and action alerts.  Kentucky Equality Federation is extremely selective about the emails we send to our members. 

  Kentucky Equality Action Center - Voter Resources: http://www.kyequalitypac.org

Together, we can and will bring equality to Kentucky. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, and we will prevail.

ACTION ALERTS (a new window will open for each action alert)

Please sign the remaining action alerts for the 2010 Legislative Session:
  1. Health Facility Patient's Visitation Right (Hospital Designee Bill) 2nd Alert; this one is for the Senate. It passed the House of Representatives!
  2. Equality Bill - No Discrimination because of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.
  3. Restore the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program!
  4. Declaration for Marriage Equality in Kentucky.
In service,

Jordan Palmer, President

Richard Jones, Special Assistant to the President for Administration & Comm
Rick Wolfe, Special Adviser to the President for Youth & Communi
ty Outreach

Hospital Bill Passed the House; Over $5,000 Kentuckians need YOUR help!

Dear Friends and Supporters:

Several new action alerts need your attention. We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to bring equality to Kentucky!

The Health Facility Patient's Visitation Right passed the House of Representatives; its fate is now in the hands of the Kentucky Senate.  Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer appealed to Senate President Williams to pass the legislation.  (view)

However, the LGBTI community and our allies need to act also.  Sign the action alert for the Kentucky Senate to pass House Bill 118!

HIV and AIDS healthcare in Kentucky is decimated; the Commonwealth allowed the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program to expire. Now, lawmakers in Frankfort want to remove HIV/AIDS training requirements for licensed service providers such as physicians, registered nurses, social workers, etc. Since treatment options change rapidly, it is imperative that all health care professionals know the physical manifestations of HIV/AIDS.

The health of over 5,000 low-income Kentuckians living with HIV are already in grave danger without the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program, and House Bill 350 will place the lives of those at risk of infection in grave danger.  Sign the action alert to oppose House Bill 350, and the alert to Restore the Kentucky AIDS Drugs Assistance Program!

The time has come for genuine change in Kentucky. YOU have an impact!

OTHER 2010 CRITICAL ACTION ALERTS: (each alert will open in a new window)

1.  Equality Bill - No Discrimination because of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.
2.  Declaration for Marriage Equality in Kentucky.

3.  Declaration reclaiming Kentucky's sovereignty.

2010 can be a year of change if we work for it and demand it. You have an impact.

Kentucky Equality Federation's Discrimination and School Bullying Committee settled a complaint against the Radio Shack Corporation, and is currently working with Wal-Mart. (more)
Follow us on Twitter (other social networking sites are also listed below such as Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube).
Continue to report your discrimination cases to us!  Because we receive so many, Kentucky Equality FederationTM has established a new committee, the Discrimination and School Bullying Committee to continue to address the complaints you have been sending us since 2005!  We will be your advocate!