Monday, December 25, 2006

Sign-up! Rally for Equality/Fairness in Frankfort on February 22, 2006.

With an important session of the General Assembly just ahead and several critical issues on the agenda, Kentucky Equality Federation has partnered with the Kentucky Fairness Alliance to gather all our supporters in Frankfort on the same day.

Kentuckians Value Equality and Kentuckians Value Fairness is an opportunity for us to raise the voice and visibility of fair-minded Kentuckians with our legislators and our neighbors. On the morning of the 22nd, citizen lobbyists from around the commonwealth will meet with their legislators.

While e-mails, phone calls, and letters are good, talking face to face with your elected officials is the most effective way to persuade them to support fairness. The Kentucky Fairness Alliance and/or the Kentucky Equality Federation will supply you with all the training and tools you'll need to have a successful visit with your lawmaker.

  • Click here to sign-up now!
  • Click here if you would like to attend the Rally ONLY!

Have you signed up for training on how to lobby your elected officials? Sign-up for free training at one of these locations:

On the morning of February 22nd, citizen lobbyists from around the commonwealth will meet with their legislators.

Click here to sign-up now!

Click here if you would like to attend the Rally ONLY!

We are very excited and want to have the largest number of people attend as possibile; we have strength in number that cannot be ignored!

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Federation Vice President Brian Endicott or Federation Alliance Manager Clarence Wallace toll-free at 877-4KEF-HELP.

We look forward to seeing YOU there!


Jordan Palmer, Brian Endicott, Clarence Wallace, Nick Herweck, Paige D. Marks, and Brandi Walker.

Organizations involved: (United We Stand):

  • Kentucky Equality Federation
  • Kentucky Fairness Alliance
  • The Fairness Campaign (Louisville)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Anti-gay Christians miss message.

Anti-gay Christians miss message. Click here to read the article by Staff reporter Kevin Eigelbach who writes on religion for The Cincinnati Post and Kentucky Post.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Support rally in Berea tomorrow at a soldier's funeral to counter Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church.

Kentucky Equality Federation will participate in a counter protest in Berea tomorrow at the Berea Baptist Church.

The Westboro Baptist Church, ran by Fred Phelps and family will be picketing the funeral of Private First Class Theodore M. West. The Phelps "clan" own websites such as, and

The Westboro Baptist Church pickets funerals nationwide with the message "Thank God for AIDS," "Thank God for Weapons of Mass Destruction," and "Your Son is Burning in Hell."

In an email message with the Berea Baptist Church, Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer said "Phelps and his "clan" in my opinion use the word of God to spread hate and intolerance. I personally believe he will have a lot to answer for when he stands before God in Judgment. But, that is only my opinion. I'm not qualified to be his Judge because this is an act reserved by God himself.

Palmer also stated "Regardless of how Theodore M. West died, he did so in defense in the ideals the founders of our commonwealth and our republic laid before us. He died in our defense, and fought so other generations could enjoy the democracy of both the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the entire United States of America."

Palmer told Berea Baptist Church Senior Pastor Kevin Slemp that regardless of the political and spiritual differences the Berea Baptist Church and Kentucky Equality Federation may or may not have, he hoped they could agree the message the Phelps "clan" was sending was wrong.

Slemp responded to Palmer's communication by stating "I share your outrage at their protest. Personally, I would be supportive of your counter-protest. We are already expecting counter-protesters called the 'Patriot Guard Riders.' Given their planned participation, and the fact that Governor Fletcher and perhaps Congressman Chandler might also attend, we will already have quite a busy event. On Wednesday, my associate minister and myself met with officers of the Berea Police and the Kentucky State Police to prepare, and I would certainly want them to be fully informed of any additional counter-protests. My hope is that we will be able to prevent this event from having a circus-like atmosphere for the sake of the family. Thank you so much for the care and consideration you have expressed for the West family."

Kentucky Equality Federation shares the concern of the Berea Baptist Church of not turning a funeral into a "circus-like event." Federation President Palmer and Federation Alliance Manager Clarence Wallace would like to remind all members and participants that we will stand without speaking; this remains a personal funeral and we must respect the fact that family members are in mourning.

"Kentucky Equality Federation continues to coordinate details of the event with the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, the Berea Police Department, and the Kentucky State Police." stated Palmer.

Kentucky Equality Federation asks its members who wish to participate visit a local store a purchase two hand held flags; please hold the Flag of the Commonwealth in one hand, and the Flag of the United States of America in the other.

If anyone would like to convey a religious message, please use "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Anyone wishing to participate with Kentucky Equality Federation should meet us at First Christian Church in Berea, KY at 11 AM on Saturday for a briefing with the Berea Police Department. The First Christian Church is located across the street from Berea City Hall in Madison County.

Federation management scheduled to attend include:
- Jordan Palmer, President
- Brian Endicott, Vice President
- Clarence Wallace, Membership & Alliance Manager
- Nancy Couch, Secretary of the Federation
- Nick Herweck, Northern Kentucky Chapter President
- Jesse Alexander, Awareness Representative At-Large

Friday, December 01, 2006

Kentucky Equality Appoints a Vice President and an Awareness Representative for Louisville, KY.

Kentucky Equality Federation is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Brian Endicott as Federation Vice President.

Mr. Endicott was Chapter President of the Federation's Southeastern Kentucky Region until his official appointment as vice president of the organization on November 27, 2006.

In his new role, Endicott will assist in the supervision of legislative affairs as well as new volunteer and awareness development.

Some of the text of Endicott's official officer job descrition include:
The Federation Vice President coordinates and maintains information on current events and trends within the realm of our Mission Statement with the Awareness Manager, Awareness Representatives, and related staff ("Awareness Staff"). Maintains regular contact with Awareness Staff and presents recommendations to the Federation President and the Advisory Council.

The Federation Vice President coordinates implementation and execution of Federation policies and practices related to strategies, campaigns, and work plans. Provides leadership for problem resolution in this area.

Works closely with, and assists the Alliance Manager and Awareness Staff to develop and implement strategies, campaigns, work plans, reports, coalitions, and organizational growth.

Coordinates efficient and timely dissemination of special materials to build goodwill and community relations. Helps ensure consistency and credibility in all communications with targeted audiences and Federation Members.

In addition to Endicott, Kentucky Equality Federation now has an Awareness Representative for Louisville, KY.

Ms. Brandi Walker assumed her new role on November 27, 2006 as well.

Kentucky Equality Federation is currently talking to several different people about the open position for Southeastern Kentucky. No decision will be made however until January 02, 2007 on who the new Chapter Leader will be.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

World AIDS Day 2006 - December 1st.

The Red Ribbon, started by the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS ("UNAIDS") is the global symbol for solidarity with HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS.

World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year and started by the
United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS in 1998 is dedicated to raising awareness of the global AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in 2005 of which, more than half a million (570,000) were children.

The concept of a World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 United Nations World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention. Since then, it has been taken up by governments, international organizations and charities around the world.


On November 21, 2006 at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, the United Nations World Health Organization issued a frightening report that the global AIDS epidemic continues to grow and there is concerning evidence that some countries are seeing a resurgence in new HIV infection rates which were previously stable or declining.

According to the
Commonwealth of Kentucky's Cabinet for Health and Human Services, Department for Public Health, HIV/AIDS Branch:

AIDS in Kentucky increased through 1995, but then dropped 40% from 1996 to 2000. This decline was partially due to advances in treatments for HIV and opportunistic infections. The treatments prolonged the lives of many patients as well as extended the time from HIV infection to AIDS progression.

In 2001, for the first time since 1995, an increase was observed in the Kentucky AIDS cases and has continued to increase steadily. 2005's numbers showed AIDS once again spiraling out of control with white homosexual males living in Lexington and Louisville being the primary cases in the commonwealth.

14% of homosexual males in Kentucky who have AIDS are aware of their status and continue to have sex with unknowing partners.
47% of HIV positive people are not aware of their status and continue to have multiple sexual partners.
Nearly 85% of all AIDS cases in the commonwealth are within the Bluegrass Region including Covington, Frankfort, Florence, Georgetown, Lexington, Louisville, Richmond, and Winchester.
76% of all Kentucky AIDS cases are between the ages of 24 - 43.

According to the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Branch, HIV is primarily spread through sexual contact with an infected person and by sharing contaminated syringes, needles, cotton, cookers, and other injecting drug use equipment with someone who is infected.

Information provided by the
Kentucky Department for Public Health, HIV/AIDS Branch:

- Free anonymous and confidential testing and counseling is available at every health department in Kentucky. After being infected with HIV, it takes between two weeks and six months before the test can detect the antibodies to the virus.

The Kentucky HIV/AIDS Branch urges everyone to get test if you:
- Have had sex with someone who has HIV.
- Have had sex with someone who has or has had any sexually transmitted disease (STD).
- Have shared needles or syringes with someone who has HIV.
- Have had multiple sex partners or you have had sex with someone who has had multiple partners.
- Have had sex through prostitution (male or female).
- Have had sex with injecting drug users.
- Had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.
- Are a woman who is pregnant or desires to be pregnant and who wishes to reduce the chance of your baby getting HIV from you, should you be infected.

A person with AIDS is susceptible to certain infections and cancers. When a person with AIDS cannot fight off infections, this person becomes ill. Most people with AIDS will die as a result of their infection. AIDS is caused by a virus called Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV.

Early diagnosis of HIV infection is important! If you have been told you have HIV, you should get prompt medical treatment. In many cases, early treatment can enhance a person's ability to remain healthy as long as possible. Your doctor will help you determine the best treatment for you.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Something to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving! More than 380 years ago, people who didn't even speak the same language came together in peace and fellowship to give thanks. Often we forget, or take for granted some of the simple rights and privileges we enjoy.

It is in the best tradition of both Kentucky and United States history however that we question our government and constantly place them "in-check" so they never forget who they truly work for: the citizens.

From the torture of heretics to the burning of witches, our history tells us we've come a long way. Though we continue to have a long fight in front of us, and a lot of progress needs to me made in other areas, let us concede for a moment how lucky we are to be citizens of this land.

Yesterday the
International Lesbian and Gay Association (Kentucky Equality Federation is an official member) released its annual survey of "Government in our Bedrooms." If you are searching for something to be thankful for, please click here to view their worldwide survey and see what our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters must endure in the most repressive governments of the world.

This is part of the reason the Executive Council of the
Kentucky Equality Federation has elected to remain uninvolved in any Black Friday activities related to Wal-Mart. As activists it is critical that we "pick and choose" the battles we engage; we remain committed to conserving our energy for the forthcoming battle(s) with the 2007 Kentucky House and Senate.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Richmond, KY Wal-Mart Protests; Conservative Christian Groups Victorious

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!

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 and withdrew its objections.

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.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Former Kentucky Gay Health Leader Murdered

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.

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.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation protests Representative Fischer's comments, though he still stands by them.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS - Statehouse Republican Joe Fischer is taking criticism for comments he made about gay rights and sexual orientation.

Fischer, a lawyer from Fort Thomas, said in an interview last week with The Community Recorder newspaper that it is "OK to fire someone if they're gay."

"I favor the current laws as they stand now," Fischer told the paper. "Sexual orientation shouldn't be a protected class. "Obviously, people can change their sexual orientation," he said. "Some psychologists have said so."

Fischer defended his comments during a Wednesday night campaign forum at Northern Kentucky University he participated in with his opponent, Democrat Linda Klembara of Fort Thomas.

"Under current federal and states civil rights laws it is OK," Fischer said during the half-hour forum. Sexual orientation is not a protected class. "It should not be in my opinion," he said. "The current law, I think it's fair because sexual orientation has not been a traditionally protected class like women, black, national origin and religion."

Klembara said her "faith runs deep" when asked to comment on Fischer's statements. "And my faith would never allow me to condone hatred or bigotry or discrimination toward any group of people," she said.

About 20 members of Kentucky Equality Federation, a gay rights group, protested Fischer's appearance at the forum. "As far as people being able to change their sexual orientation, it's something you are born with," said federation president Jordan Palmer. "He seems to think you can change it with the proper amount of psychology. So, my question to him is, could he change his to homosexual.

"It is unfortunate that we have people as our elected officials and representatives that aren't willing to represent all of us," Palmer said. "It is not fair, and it will never be fair, to terminate someone because of their sexual orientation."

- Kentucky Enquirer (10/26/2006)
- Kentucky Post (10/25/2006)
- Pam's House Blend (LGBT Political Blog)

Klembara said she didn't believe homosexuals could change their sexual orientation. "I don't ever remember consciously saying, 'I'm going to be a heterosexual,'" she said. "I think we're all born who we are."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation condemns comments made by Rep. Fischer and plans a protest rally outside NKU prior to the debate with his opponent.


Click on the link below:
Kentucky Equality Federation condemns comments made by Representative Fischer (R-Fort Thomas) and plans a protest rally outside Northern Kentucky University prior to the debate with his opponent, Linda Klembara (D-Fort Thomas).

Please create your new account from our new online members center; Kentucky Equality Federation will stop sending alerts in this fashion December 31, 2006. All log-in problems have been fixed. Visit our official website for additional information and renew your membership!

You are receiving this electronic message because you are an official member of Kentucky Equality Federation, or you have signed-up for news alerts. If you no longer wish you receive news alerts, click here to unsubscribe.

COMMENTS: We appreciate your feedback and comments! To comment on a story, please click
here to visit our official blog.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation launches new OnLine Members Center.

Kentucky Equality Federation is pleased to announce the launching of its new OnLine Members Center, designed to give exclusive benefits and information to official Federation members.

What can I do in the new OnLine Members Center?
- You decide what emails you will receive from the Federation
- View candidates currently running for election
- View candidates officially endorsed by the Federation
- View information on current office holders
- Private Members Forum
- Private Action Alerts
- Exclusive Feeds to "Commonwealth News" related to issues within our
Mission Statement
- View current issues the Federation is addressing
- Sign-up for Federation events
- Sign-up to receive reminders for special programs and events
- Email Action Alerts and Current Issues to your friends to sign and get involved!

Why was a new system necessary?
The number of members we have exceeded our ability to manage with the system we had in place.
Kentucky Equality Federation membership has grown at an extraordinary rate, faster than we would could keep up with; our new system is automated for a capacity of up to one hundred thousand (100,000) members (we are not likely to ever achieve this number of members). The information you provide in our new OnLine Members Center isn't reviewed by anyone and is completely confidential, in addition, you have the ability to update your membership on your own (such as email address, areas of interests, change of address, etc.).

Does this mean I will have to complete a new membership application?
Unfortunately yes. That is the only frustrating thing about our new system. Once you've completed your
new enrollment however, you won't be sorry! A great deal of time, money, and effort was involved in creating the new OnLine Members Center for you, our members. There is no one more important to the Board of Directors than official members like you, after all, every single member owns part of Kentucky Equality Federation and our success depends on your involvement!

Is Membership still open to anyone?
Absolutely! You do not have to live in Kentucky to become an official member. Approximately 8% of our members reside outside Kentucky, but still consider Kentucky "home" and want to remain involved in current events. Membership is still open and available to individuals, corporations, organizations (incorporated and un-incorporated), and groups.

Is membership still FREE?

How was this new system paid for?
Our new system was funded by your continued support and purchases from our OnLine Store. Every time you purchase something from our OnLine Store, a portion of the proceeds pay for Federation expenses.

SHORTCUTS: There are two special shortcuts that will take you directly to the new OnLine Members Center, other than going though our main site,, or; the shortcuts are:

  1., and

We hope you enjoy your new OnLine Members Center!


Jordan Palmer, Nancy Couch, Clarence Wallace, Brian Endicott, Nick Herweck, Jesse Alexander, and Paige D. Marks

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Legislation proposed to prohibit domestic partnerships at all Kentucky educational facilities.

Representative Stan Lee (R-Fayette) couldn't wait for the legislature to reconvene in January before filing his first anti-gay bill. Representative Lee's first attack against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community for the upcoming 2007 Legislative Session is to "prohibit public higher education institutions from providing health benefits for a domestic partner of a university or college employee."

>> Click here to sign the support petition to each University President, Governor Fletcher, and the Chair's of the Kentucky Republican and Democratic Party.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BR 102 - Representative Stan Lee - FILED: 10/16/06
AN ACT relating to health benefits provided by state universities and colleges. Create a new section of KRS Chapter 164 to define "domestic partner" as an unmarried adult person of the same sex or opposite sex who is not a blood relative and who lives with a university or college employee; prohibit public higher education institutions from providing health benefits for a domestic partner of a university or college employee.

Kentucky Equality Federation expected this as we outlined in our September 12, 2006 email entitled "2007 to be a horrible legislative year for Kentucky's LGBT population; buckle down for the fight."

"The 2007 Kentucky House and Senate Session (the only time during the year new laws can be passed, unless the Governor calls a special session) will be worse than 2006; possibly the worst Kentucky's LGBT population has ever faced. These people will not succeed in running me out of my home, I will be here, entrenched.

As January 2007 approaches however, prepare yourself mentally because it isn't going to be nice. I will fight to defend the Constitution of my Commonwealth with my last breath, which clearly states......all people are created equal." - Jordan Palmer, president, Kentucky Equality Federation

* Ultra-conservative Senators and Representatives in Kentucky are expected to attempt to pass foster parent and adoption bans for same-sex couples (such as the bans in the State of Florida).

* Ultra-conservative Senators and Representatives in Kentucky are expected to attempt to "rein in the
Kentucky Court of Justice" by limiting judicial review of legislative acts; ultra-conservatives want to limit the authority of Kentucky Courts in ruling something "unconstitutional."

* Ultra-conservative Senators and Representatives in Kentucky are expected to attempt to pass a law prohibiting the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky, and Northern Kentucky University from extending domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples.

* Ultra-conservative Senators and Representatives in Kentucky are expected to attempt (again) to pass a law prohibiting political subdivisions of the commonwealth (counties and cities) from passing any laws related to civil rights, and repeal all laws currently in place. This would remove protection from discrimination in Kentucky's largest cities, including Louisville, Lexington, and Covington.

One of the items on our listed has already occurred, but Kentucky Equality Federation and its Chapters are more than ready.

Please take a moment to send your personal thanks to Administration at Northern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, and University of Louisville thanking them for having the courage and wisdom to pursue domestic partnership rights. University President's have a lot of leverage with the Governor as well as leadership of the Kentucky House and Senate.

>> Click here to sign the support petition to each University President, Governor Fletcher, and the Chair's of the Kentucky Republican and Democratic Party.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Join the Northern Kentucky Chapter of the Kentucky Equality Federation at an event held by NKU's Common Ground on "National Coming Out Day."

Join the Northern Kentucky Chapter of the Kentucky Equality Federation at an event held by Northern Kentucky University's Common Ground Gay-Straight Alliance on October 11, 2006 ("National Coming Out Day").

Chris Klucsarits (Kanyon), who ascended to elite superstar status in professional wrestling before retiring from World Wrestling Entertainment in 2004, and who earlier this year revealed to a live independent show audience in Greater Sadbury, Ontario, that he was homosexual, will give a public lecture at Northern Kentucky University on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 3-4 p.m. in BEP Center Room 200 as part of NKU’s National Coming Out Day activities.

Kanyon’s visit, which is sponsored by NKU Common Ground, will include a speech, question/answer session and an autograph session.

Kentucky Equality Federation will be paying for Kanyon's accommodations during his visit to Northern Kentucky and will be providing Common Ground with $2,431.36 in products and
materials to increase awareness of their efforts to promote tolerance and diversity. For additional information about this event, visit Common Ground's official website by clicking here

Kentucky Equality Federation would continue to support its members and Gay-Straight Alliances across Kentucky. "Education and exposure to diversity in non-threatening environments promotes tolerance; it is critical this occur during high-school and college, when individual minds are significantly more open to social diversity." - Federation President Jordan Palmer on September 9, 2006.

Common Ground is the Gay/Straight Alliance at NKU. It exists primarily for the purpose of supporting and promoting the welfare of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and their allies (GLBTA) at NKU. The group is currently working to establish the Safe Zone program, which is a resource referral service that trains faculty and staff about how to support GLBTA students who come to them for help.

NKU's Common Ground is on the list of organizations supported and advocated by the Kentucky Equality Federation.

Kentucky Equality Federation is the senior organization representing the International Lesbian and Gay Association in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The International Lesbian and Gay Association consists of more than 400 member organizations on every continent in more than 90 countries.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Northern Kentucky University responds to Kentucky Equality Federation concerns.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

NEWS: Bill proposed to extend same-sex partner benefits of federal employees.

DISTRICT OF COMUMBIA -- Legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate Wednesday that would extend family benefits to the same-sex partners of gay and lesbian employees of the federal state.

The measure is sponsored by U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) and Gordon Smith (R-Oregon). Among the co-sponsors are U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer of New York, Barbara Boxer of California, and Ted Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts.

The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act would provide benefits to federal employees' same-sex partners on the same basis as spousal benefits - including participation in retirement programs, compensation for work injuries and life and health insurance. In addition, the bill would subject federal employees with domestic partners to the same obligations as federally recognized married couples.

"This bill is very affordable but more importantly, it is the right thing to do. Many leading employers, including my home state of Connecticut, provide benefits to domestic partners," said Lieberman. "It's time for the federal government to catch up as extending benefits to domestic partners is fair and will help federal agencies compete for the most qualified personnel."

"Federal workers should be able to extend their benefits to loved ones," said Smith. "It's a matter of fairness and I think the government should be leading the way rather than following. I believe we need to rid the workplace of discrimination, not just in hiring decisions, but also in the rights and privileges afforded employees."

The House version of the bill was introduced in July, 2005 and sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D. Massachusetts).

As of 2006, more than one half of the Fortune 500 companies provide health benefits for their employees' domestic partners.

How far the legislation will advance is unclear. Congress is scheduled to adjourn later this week and most Republicans say they will oppose the measure.

Friday, September 22, 2006


FLORENCE, KY (PRWEB) September 22, 2006 -- Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer stated today that he is now satisfied with Northern Kentucky University's response to an incident involving a gay student.

On August 28th, Jeremy Phillippi said he found "
[this word omitted by Kentucky Equality] you fag. I hope you get AIDS" on his dorm room door and that the decorations on a bulletin board had been torn down. Phillippi is a resident advisor at the university and a member of Common Ground, Northern Kentucky University's Gay-Straight Alliance.

Phillippi filed a complaint with the Federation to push NKU administrators to take a more aggressive stance against acts of discrimination, intimidation and hatred.

The Kentucky Equality Federation requested university management assume a more "hands on" role in the investigation and issue a public statement condemning this action with consequences of targeting students because of their sexual orientation or gender identity clearly identified.

"After speaking to Vice President of Student Affairs Mark G. Shanley, I have a much better uderstanding of the situation," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "We had a very friendly, candid conversation about the incident and will keep an open dialog. I thought Mr. Shanley was both receptive and supportive, having made himself personally available to Phillippi if he encountered any additional problems."

Vice President Shanley and Dean of Students Kelso stopped by a Common Ground meeting this week and spoke with them about discrimination, tolerance, and a variety of other topics.

"I think Vice President Shanley making time to personally address Jeremy Phillippi's concerns and speak directly to NKU's Gay-Straight Alliance is very impressive," stated Kentucky Equality Federation Awareness Coordinator Jesse Alexander.

Alexander's comments where echoed by Common Ground's Co-President Mike Volmer yesterday during a telephone conversation with Palmer.

"Because the reported misconduct also represents behavior inconsistent with our University's values, it is important that we also respond in a manner that sends a clear message reaffirming the importance of civilized behavior toward all individuals and discouraging behavior which threatens the freedom and respect that every individual deserves. When the investigation into this complaint is completed, I will personally communicate this message to the entire Northern Kentucky University community," stated Northern Kentucky University President James C. Votruba.

Phillippi partnered with another resident advisor to facilitate a two-day program focused on diversity, tolerance, and AIDS with the University Housing Department providing funding, marketing support and serving as co-sponsor.

Northern Kentucky University's response came the day after the Federation's Board of Directors condemned the University for its lack of response.

Palmer stated Kentucky Equality Federation would continue to support its members and Gay-Straight Alliances across Kentucky.

Palmer and other management from Kentucky Equality Federation still plan to meet with members of Common Ground's Board to discuss monetary and material ways the federation can support the Gay-Straight Alliance.

"Education and exposure to diversity in non-threatening environments promotes tolerance; it is critical this occur during high-school and college, when individual minds are significantly more open to social diversity." - Jordan Palmer

Federation criticizes response - News

Federation criticizes response - News

Saturday, September 09, 2006

NKU Update - Northern Kentucky Gays Sustain Record Number of Attacks (all within weeks).

These attacks, targeted against the LGBT community in Northern Kentucky are record in numbers. Never before has the commonwealth seen such blatant hate crimes related to our community. Education and exposure to diversity in non-threatening environments promotes tolerance; it is critical that occur during high-school and college, when individual minds are significantly more open to social diversity. Jordan Palmer, president of Kentucky Equality Federation spoke with Mike Volmer, co-president of Common Ground at Northern Kentucky University; the Federation offered Common Ground financial and material aid, and plan to meet next week.

COVINGTON - Police believe two apparent homophobic attacks - one in which a man was stabbed - are not related. The victim in the stabbing was attacked following an encounter in a local restaurant.

Police say that he was in the bar of La Tradicion restaurant when a man approached him and asked "if he was really a female." The victim said he was not and walked away. According to the police report, "Suspect then approached victim from rear, stabbing him twice. Suspect stated to victim, 'I got you.'" The victim, whose name is being withheld for his own protection, was treated at a local hospital and released.

Police have listed the attack as a bias crime but have few leads. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his early 20s with dark shaved hair. Investigators say he fled in what may have been a gray Chevrolet Impala with Ohio plates.

Police also are looking for vandals who spray painted hate messages on a local home. The owner, a white woman who says she is not gay, found the graffiti about 2:30 in the morning. KKK and fag were painted on the exterior of the home, along with a swastika.

NORTHERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY - After vandals scrawled anti-gay messages across Jeremy Phillippi's dormitory door last week, the Northern Kentucky University resident assistant suspected the culprits would never be caught. But he hoped university officials would use the incident to underscore their intolerance for such hate crimes.

He enlisted the help of the Kentucky Equality Federation this week to push NKU administrators to take a more aggressive stance against acts of discrimination, intimidation and hatred. Now, administrators at the Highland Heights school say they will consider Phillippi's suggestions.

The 19-year-old gay man returned to his first-floor room in Kentucky Hall Aug. 28 to find expletives and anti-homosexual messages scribbled across his door in bold black marker.

"It said, 'Fag! I hope you get AIDS,'" he said.

Phillippi followed procedures that require an electronic report be filed immediately with the resident hall director and university housing administrators. After that, he cleaned the words from his door and went to bed.

In the days following the crime - officially classified as third-degree criminal mischief - Phillippi also met with the director of university housing and the dean of students. He said he hoped the university would use the case to inform students about the school's intolerance for such discriminatory acts. But he said there was a lack of action.

They "said they just wanted to see how I was doing and let me knew the administration knew about what happened," Phillippi recalled of his conversation with the housing administrator.
"I asked if a statement had been prepared about it, and (they) said yes, a statement had been written up to be released, which hasn't happened. And he kept using the word 'vandalism' which I think downplays the incident. I was pretty upset, so I just left. ... I really felt victimized again pretty much."

Phillippi said 10 days after the incident he remains dissatisfied with the university's response, so he met with members of the campus Gay-Straight Alliance. They directed him to contact the Northern Kentucky chapter of the Kentucky Equality Federation for help.

The volunteer organization works for gay, lesbian and transgender rights, and was recently instrumental in helping students at Boone County High School gain approval to form an in-school Gay-Straight Alliance.

Thursday, Phillippi filed a complaint with the federation, seeking help in getting further action from university officials. "We would definitely like for the administration to take a more hands-on approach with this," said Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "I don't think realistically they'll ever find out who did it, but (administrators) could issue a statement in the school newspaper, for instance ... that you don't target people like this. This isn't acceptable behavior."

University officials said they have kept silent about the incident because they believed that was Phillippi's wish. But school spokesman Chris Cole said administrators are open to Phillippi's ideas about using the incident to teach students, administrators and teachers that all types of discrimination and hatred are unacceptable.

"The strong conclusion that the housing director and the (campus police) officer came to was that the R.A. did not want to call attention to himself and the investigation ... so we attempted to retain his privacy," Cole said.

"But, we are always looking for teachable moments, and any time an incident like this happens, it's certainly a teachable moment. ... So, anything he wants to do, I'm sure the housing director would be glad to work with him on it."

Cole said school officials understand that difficult discussions need to take place about things "in a way that's not threatening or destructive." Cole alluded to an incident in April when a professor was charged with helping her students tear down an anti-abortion display on the Highland Heights campus. Charges against the teacher, Sally Jacobsen, were dismissed after she successfully completed a mediation program, but the controversy raged for months following the high-profile incident.

Phillippi also referred to that incident as added reason for university officials to take swift and public action to condemn acts of destruction, discrimination and hatred. He said he plans to educate residents in his dorm about issues relevant to the case. His hope is that the university will lend its muscle to his message before then. "I just think that if something relatively small like this gets by, then what are they going to do with something else?" Phillippi said.

"That's why I wanted to take an educational twist with what happened. ... So people learn from it."

Friday, September 08, 2006


On August 28, 2006 at approximately 12:30 AM someone committed a hate crime, act of vandalism, and bullying against a resident assistant, who is also a member Northern Kentucky University's Common Ground, the university's Gay-Straight Alliance (campus police report # 060549).

Writing foul language with the words "Fag......I hope you get AIDS" is a clear act of hatred directed to Common Ground, as well as the resident assistant's door it was written on.

One or more of the members of Common Ground has filed an official complaint with Kentucky Equality Federation because the university isn't doing anything proactive to either find the individual(s) involved in the incident, or advise students that such behavior is unacceptable.

The Kentucky Equality Federation would like to see university management take a more "hands on" role in this investigation, and issue a public statement condemning this action with consequences of targeting students because of their sexual orientation or gender identity clearly identified.

The academic consequences of bullying are severe, not to mention the mental and physical well-being of targeted students and bystanders alike. Students at Northern Kentucky University deserve to be able to be themselves, without having to face verbal or physical violence and be able to get an education without having to suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Kentucky Equality Federation would like to know what action(s) are being taken to find the individual(s) involved and advise students that such behavior will not be tolerated.

Click here to sign the letter to Northern Kentucky University's President, as well as the Executive Assistant to Northern Kentucky University's Board of Regents.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation offers new services to report hate crimes, discrimination, and school bullying; Federation to act as a buffer.

Hate crimes, discrimination, and school bullying is a sickening reality for many of us. From high profile murder cases, such as those of Matthew Shepard and David 'Sinders' Morley, to local, everyday incidents, hate crime is a startling fact of life for gay people.

What is hate crime?
"A crime committed against a person or persons because of a particular group they belong to such as women, lesbians, gay men and bisexual people, transgender people, Black and minority ethnic people, Jewish people, Muslim people and so on."

Hate crime against one person sends a message of violence to their communities, which creates an atmosphere of fear. Hate crimes can range from anti-gay insults, threats, queer-bashings, sexual violence and murder. It can also include harassment such as hate mail, phone calls, texts, emails, graffiti, repeated name calling, following, theft or damage to property.

How prevalent is hate crime?
The United States has seen a startling increase in the number of LGBT hate crimes; this steady increase has been documented in all 50 U.S. states, 2 commonwealths, and 3 territories.

I would like to report a hate crime, school bullying, or discrimination. What should I do?

You can now complete a report online and submit it to Kentucky Equality Federation. We will do everything possible and necessary to protect your privacy, and we will ensure your constitutional freedoms, rights, and liberties are protected.

How is the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community facing up to hate crime?
Organisations such as Kentucky Equality Federation act as a "buffer" between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community and the police; we are also campaigning for better resources to address hate crimes.

“Some children and teenager’s, especially in small Kentucky communities are afraid to go to the police, or take legal action when they suffer from or witness discrimination, school bullying, and even hate crimes,” stated Jordan Palmer, president of Kentucky Equality. “Schools throughout the commonwealth are particularly quick to dismiss school bullying related to a child or teenager’s gender identity and sexual orientation; we want to make sure their complaints are taking seriously, and make sure local officials stop it with more than just a slap on the wrist.”

In 2006 the Kentucky House of Representatives passed HB 270, a school bullying bill that included provisions to protect homosexual students. The bill died however in the Kentucky Senate.

Kentucky Equality believes a lot of incidents go unreported each year throughout Kentucky because of bad experiences in working with law enforcement, others fear being “outed” or reprisals from their perpetrators. However, unless people do report it, there will be no true record of the extent of the problem and nothing will be done to address it.

Kentucky Equality Federation will do everything possible and necessary to protect the privacy of individuals who do not want their incidents to become public knowledge.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Steak n' Shake manager in Louisville, KY told Kentucky Equality Federation members "fags you gotta go." **CONTAINS UPDATED INFORMATION**

Louisville, KY August 22, 2006 -- Kentucky Equality Federation* [formerly called Kentucky Equality Association, both names are registered with the Kentucky Secretary of State] members were verbally abused and refused service at a Steak n’ Shake in Louisville, KY because of their sexual orientation. Scott Kays and three of his friends entered the Steak n’ Shake at 3232 Bardstown Road at approximately 2:45 AM EST on August 21, 2006 and was told "fags you gotta go," after seating themselves according to Kays, an official, voting member of the Federation.

"I hope the citizens of the commonwealth truly see the discrimination the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community goes through," stated Jordan Palmer, president of Kentucky Equality. "We’ve had a student expelled from college, dedicated and patriotic citizens kicked out of the military, and intolerance based on sexual orientation and gender identity; this is not the equal treatment and representation this country was founded to represent."

The district manager for the Steak n' Shake on Bardstown Road told Kentucky Equality the company did not discriminate, and that the Bardstown Road location had a diverse staff.

Kentucky Equality Federation had planned to file a discrimination charges against the company, an action that has since been placed on hold pending the stores investigation into the incident. Kentucky Equality has been very satisfied and impressed with the level of cooperation and attentiveness to the issue from Steak n' Shake's corporate office.

Palmer also stated that though this incident does not reflect Stake n' Shake's corporate culture, is a perfect example of why legislation should be in place to protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the areas of housing, credit, public accommodations, and employment.

* Kentucky Equality Association changed its primary trade name to Kentucky Equality Federation on August 21, 2006 after becoming an official member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

UPDATE -- CONCLUSION: Kentucky Equality has been satisfied with Steak n' Shake's level of cooperation and attentiveness to the issue, intolerance based on sexual orientation and gender identity. All three corporate representatives have advised Kentucky Equality that the LGBT community is welcome in all of their locations.

Overall, the company has responded to our investigation and requests for information in a very friendly, positive fashion; they've been rather impressive.

Intolerance will follow us everywhere; we cannot allow one individual to undermine our efforts. From a "first look," if other companies leaped into action as quickly as they have, our work environments would be much, much better.

An additional update will be posted tomorrow.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Kentucky Equality Praises Progress; New Federal Pension Law Includes Measures for the LGBT Community.

The Kentucky Equality Federation (formerly officially called Kentucky Equality Association) sent letters of praise to U.S. Senator Gordon Smith (R) from the State of Oregon, and U.S. Representative Benjamin L. Cardin (D) from the State of Maryland for their strong support of the new Federal Pension Protection Act, and U.S. President George Bush for signing the legislation into law.

The letter campaign also included letters to Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign whose organization lobbied Congress to pass the measure, and David Ratcliffe, National co-leader of Merrill Lynch's LGBT Professional Network.

The legislation, with strong bipartisan support received final approval on August 3, 2006.

The first provision allows the transfer of an individual's retirement plan benefits to a domestic partner or other non-spouse beneficiary including a sibling or parent when the individual dies. Specifically, the surviving partner, or other non-spouse beneficiary, will now be able to transfer his or her deceased partner's retirement funds into an Individual Retirement Account and either draw down the benefits over a five-year period, or over his or her own life expectancy.

In the past, surviving same-sex partners or other non-spouse beneficiaries in similar situations were typically forced to withdraw the entire amount as a lump sum and incur immediate tax charges. In addition, this action often bumped the survivor into a higher tax bracket because the withdrawal was counted as taxable income to the beneficiary.

The second provision, which addresses retirement plan hardship distributions, allows gay couples and others with non-spouse, non-dependent beneficiaries, similar access to laws that permit people to draw on their retirement funds in the case of a qualifying medical or financial emergency. In the past, the federal law covered only the spouses or dependents of employees when it came to accessing retirement funds during an emergency.

Though we have yet to find common ground on various other issues, it is good to see that Congress hasn’t forgotten their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered constituents in other areas of the law,” stated Paige D. Marks, general counsel for Kentucky Equality.

Jordan Palmer, president of the Kentucky Equality Federation stressed the importance of praising elected officials when they take positive steps toward progress. “I’m certain these officials will come under fire from ultra-conservatives; all the more reason they need our praise, so that we’re not just contacting them to complain about something,” stated Palmer.

The Kentucky Equality Federation also thanked the following state delegates to the federal government for their bipartisan support, including former U.S. Representative Rob Portman (R-OH), U.S. Representative Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ways & Means Committee Chairman Representative Bill Thomas (R-CA), U.S. Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR), U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), U.S. Senator Max Baucus (R-MT), and U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Political Candidate Ratings; A List of the Rights LGBT People are DENIED!

Did you know? For the record, see all the rights you're denied.

There is nothing within the sovereign borders of this commonwealth that validates, protects or encourages our existence.

* Accidental death benefit for the surviving spouse of a government employee;
* Appointment as guardian of a minor;
* Beneficial owner status of corporate securities;
* Bill of Rights benefits for victims and witnesses;
* Consent to post-mortem examination;
* Control, division, acquisition, and disposition of community property
* Criminal injuries compensation;
* Death benefit for surviving spouse for government employee
* Disclosure of vital statistics records;
* Eligibility for housing opportunity allowance program of the Housing, Finance and Development Corporation;
* Exemption from claims of Department of Human Services for social services payments, financial assistance, or burial payments;
* Exemption from conveyance tax;
* Funeral leave for government employees;
* Income tax deductions, credits, rates exemption, and estimates;
* Insurance licenses, coverage, eligibility, and benefits organization of mutual benefits society;
* Legal status with partner's children;
* Making partner medical decisions;
* Payment of wages to a relative of deceased employee;
* Payment of worker's compensation benefits after death;
* Permission to make arrangements for burial or cremation;
* Public assistance from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services;
* Right to change names;
* Right to inherit property;
* Rights and proceedings for involuntary hospitalization and treatment;
* Spousal privilege and confidential marriage communications;
* Tax relief for natural disaster losses;

The commonwealth currently has no laws to protect homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender people from discrimination in:
* Employment
* Housing
* Public Accommodations
* Credit

This is why it is critical that Kentuckians go to the polls in November. Please remember these candidates when you vote. The following Kentucky candidates seeking re-election have received an "F" Kentucky Equality Rating; these candidates have either sponsored or proposed anti-gay laws.

SENATE DISTRICT 16 - COUNTIES: Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne, Whitley
Senate President David L. Williams

James R. Carr (R) In office since 2005

Sheldon E. Baugh (R) In office since 1995

HOUSE DISTRICT 19 - COUNTIES: Edmonson, Hart, Larue
Terry Shelton (R)

HOUSE DISTRICT 27 - COUNTIES: Bullitt, Hardin, Meade
Gerry Lynn (R) - In office since 2005

Mary Harper (R) - In office since 2001

Russ Mobley (R) - In office since 2001

HOUSE DISTRICT 54 - COUNTIES: Boyle, Washington
Mike Harmon (R) - In office since 2003

Brad Montell (R)

Joseph M. Fischer (R) - In office since 1999

HOUSE DISTRICT 94 - COUNTIES: Harlan, Letcher, Pike
Howard Cornett (R) - In office since 1999

Friday, July 21, 2006

Boone County High School in Florence, KY gives Gay-Straight Alliance a Green Light.

FLORENCE, KY (PRWEB) July 20, 2006 - Boone County High School has ended more four months of stonewalling and avoided a federal lawsuit by finally approving the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance.

The school's Site-Based Council unanimously approved the formation of the club at a meeting Wednesday night.

In June, the Kentucky Equality Association said in a letter to school administrators that LGBT students at Boone County High School were the victims of discrimination. The organization also said that the school's action may be illegal under the Kentucky Education Reform Act and threatened to go to court.

In its letter to the school the Kentucky Equality Association reminded it that the Federal Equal Access Act requires schools to treat GSA’s as they would any other school group.

While the school delayed making a decision on whether it would allow a GSA to organize it approved 16 other clubs including one dedicated to the animated cartoon, Anime.

"It was both remarkable and wonderful to see various groups and organizations from two states in the same room to support such a wonderful cause; to make sure our gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, and questioning teenagers have a school club were they are accepted, and can talk freely in a non-threatening environment," said Jordan Palmer, President of the Kentucky Equality Association in a statement following Wednesday night's vote.

Nick Herweck, the organizer of the GSA and a senior member of the Kentucky Equality Association had an unprecedented amount of support from organizations and groups across two states, including the
AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky University’s Pride Alliance, Northern Kentucky University’s Common Ground, Cincinnati’s Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a representative from Social Services, various community members, and the Kentucky Fairness Alliance filled the commons area of the school to support the formation of the Boone County High School Gay-Straight Alliance.

The Kentucky Equality Association invited Northern Kentucky University's Common Ground, as well as the Kentucky Fairness Alliance to the event.

GSA's are in schools across the country. In areas where school boards have attempted to block them Federal courts have repeatedly ruled in favor of the students. Recent cases were in Utah, California and Indiana.

In 2004 a Federal judge ruled in favor of students that wanted to organize a GSA in another Kentucky community. As part of the settlement to end the case the Boyd County school district agreed to establish required anti-harassment training for all students.

Last March a judge ruled that students opposed to homosexuality could not opt out of the course.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pentagon Lists Homosexuality As Disorder

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (U.S.) -- A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position.

The document outlines retirement or other discharge policies for service members with physical disabilities, and in a section on defects lists homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.

Critics said the reference underscores the Pentagon's failing policies on gays, and adds to a culture that has created uncertainty and insecurity around the treatment of homosexual service members, leading to anti-gay harassment.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeremy M. Martin said the policy document is under review.

The Pentagon has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prohibits the military from inquiring about the sex lives of service members but requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay.

The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, at the University of California at Santa Barbara, uncovered the document and pointed to it as further proof that the military deserves failing grades for its treatment of gays.

Nathaniel Frank, senior research fellow at the center, said, "The policy reflects the department's continued misunderstanding of homosexuality and makes it more difficult for gays and lesbians to access mental health services."

The document, called a Defense Department Instruction, was condemned by medical professionals, members of Congress and other experts, including the American Psychiatric Association.

"It is disappointing that certain Department of Defense instructions include homosexuality as a 'mental disorder' more than 30 years after the mental health community recognized that such a classification was a mistake," said Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.

Congress members noted that other Pentagon regulations dealing with mental health do not include homosexuality on any lists of psychological disorders. And in a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Monday, nine lawmakers asked for a full review of all documents and policies to ensure they reflect that same standard.

"Based on scientific and medical evidence the APA declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973 -- a position shared by all other major health and mental health organizations based on their own review of the science," James H. Scully Jr., head of the psychiatric association, said in a letter to the Defense Department's top doctor earlier this month.

There were 726 military members discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy during the budget year that ended last Sept. 30. That marked the first year since 2001 that the total had increased. The number of discharges had declined each year since it peaked at 1,227 in 2001, and had fallen to 653 in 2004.

The Pentagon needs to look at its own administration of the federal state if it wants to see people with genuine mental disorders.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Federal Gay Marriage Amendment Goes Down in Flames in the U.S. Senate.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - A constitutional ban on same-sex marriage failed to pass the U.S. Senate on Wednesday but Republican leaders planned to take it up in the House, keeping a national spotlight on the divisive issue.

U.S. Senators will have to answer for their positions, one sponsor of the amendment warned.

"People are going to be responsible for this vote," said Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kansas "We are making progress in America on defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman."

Indeed, the amendment was expected to gain as many as seven new votes from freshman supporters who were not members of the U.S. Senate when the amendment was last voted on in 2004.

"There's many of us who have not had an opportunity to debate and discuss this," said one of them, Senator Mel Martinez, R-Florida.

Their support is expected to produce a majority for the amendment in the 100-member chamber.

Two-thirds majority is required in both houses of Congress to send an amendment to the states. It then would have to be ratified by at least 38 states.

Still, supporters were pleased.

Forty-five of the 50 states have acted to define traditional marriage in ways that would ban same-sex marriage 19 with their own state constitutional amendments and 26 with statutes.

"Most Americans are not yet convinced that their elected representatives or the judiciary are likely to expand decisively the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples," said Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, a possible presidential candidate in 2008. He told the Senate on Tuesday he does not support the federal amendment.

The measure's defeat in the Senate is by no means its last stand, said its supporters. "Whether it passes or not this time, I do not believe the sponsors are going to fall back and cry about it," said Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. "I think they are going to keep bringing it up."

The House plans a vote on the amendment next month, said Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.
"This is an issue that is of significant importance to many Americans," Boehner told reporters. "We have significant numbers of our members who want a vote on this, so we are going to have a vote."
Like the Senate, the House in 2004 fell short of the two-thirds vote needed.

Bush, his popularity sagging and his conservative base dissatisfied with
Republicans' efforts on social issues, issued a fresh appeal for passage Tuesday, the third time in as many days.

"The administration believes that the future of marriage in America should be decided through the democratic constitutional amendment process, rather than by the court orders of a few," a
White House statement said.

Vatican also weighed in Tuesday, naming gay marriage as one of the factors threatening the traditional family as never before.

Democrats, all of whom except Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska oppose the amendment, say the debate is a divisive political ploy.

"The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the Constitution," said Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, whose commonwealth legalized gay marriage in 2003. "A vote for it is a vote against civil unions, against domestic partnership, against all other efforts for states to treat gays and lesbians fairly under the law."

Hatch responded: "Does he really want to suggest that over half of the United States Senate is a crew of bigots?"

Kentucky Equality Association chastised U.S. Representative Geoff Davis, R-Kentucky for supporting the amendment and the negative way he responded to opponents in his district.

The Kentucky Equality Association believes the anti-gay marriage movement comes from the religious belief that homosexuality is a sin, immoral, harms children, and spreads disease.

The Federal Marriage Amendment is an attack on the sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which recognizes gay marriages, as well as the states of New Jersey, Vermont, California, and Connecticut, that have passed civil unions or similar partnerships.

The Kentucky Equality Association is committed to organizing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and fair-minded vote throughout the commonwealth. The Associations Board of Directors ratified a statement condemning the Republican attempt to appeal to right-wing voters ahead of November's congressional ballot, and for using the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community as a political punching bag.

Same-sex couples cannot participate fully in our society if they are denied the rights and responsibilities offered to heterosexual couples.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Kentucky Equality Assoc. supports GSA at Boone County High School

Covington, KY (PRWEB) June 01, 2006 -- After receiving reports that officials at Boone County High School could be delaying the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance ("GSA"), the Kentucky Equality Association has sent a letter and information pamphlets to the school's principal. The information sent to the school is entitled "Just the Facts" and has been endorsed by the American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, National Association of Social Workers, and the National Education Association, among others.

The federal Equal Access Act requires schools to treat GSA's as they would any other school group, according to the letter sent Tuesday to Ms. Peggy Brooks the principal of Boone County High School.

The Kentucky Equality Association believes delaying or denying the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance would also violate the Kentucky Education Reform Act.

According to information obtained from the school's website, 16 clubs are currently active in the school including a club dedicated to the animated cartoon, Anime.

A GSA provides a place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation, and work to end homophobia. Many GSA's function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who are struggling with their identity as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

Federal courts have repeatedly ruled in favor of GSA's where schools tried to block their formation, upholding students' right to form the groups in Salt Lake City, Utah, Orange, California, Franklin Township, Indiana, and Boyd County, Kentucky.

The Kentucky Equality Association has offered to make additional information available to any official or student of Boone County High School. "The Kentucky Equality Association will be pleased to provide information and data sheets about GSA's to any other school official or student in the commonwealth," stated Jordan Palmer, association president.

The Advisory Council of the Kentucky Equality Association will continue to monitor the formation of the GSA club at Boone County High School through its members.