Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Conservative Case For Gay Marriage

Andrew Sullivan posted something today that I loved. I wanted to share it with you:

Social conservatism resists change and that therefore extending civil marriage rights to gay couples is inherently liberal. The reform corresponds with the evolution of civil marriage away from procreation and toward companionship - and social conservatives worry about such change. In that sense, I don't disagree with Reihan's point. The most coherent conservative objection to same-sex marriage is simply resistance to any tampering with a vital social institution.

But as societies change, conservatives have to adapt. Given that our society now has a huge number of openly gay couples, many with children, and that the law has to respond to this social reality, the practical decision conservatives have to make is: what shall we do about this? My fear, expressed almost two decades ago now, was that the ad hoc responses - domestic partnership, civil unions and the like - were as practically unavoidable as they were subtly undermining of marriage. Give gays domestic partnerships and marriage-lite and straights will demand them as well. And so marriage becomes less special and less constructive an institution.

I can see that, back in 1989, when I first made the case, the jump to full marriage equality seemed a leap. But two decades later? When it has become the norm in many countries and in one state? When civil unions exist in many other states? Why does it remain socially liberal to resist the conservative logic of including everyone within the same family structure, with the same responsibilities? And, of course, when you actually listen to the current advocates of banning such marriages - and unions - you do not hear nuanced or Hayekian social arguments very often. You hear
truisms - "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman" - or religious invocations of the "sanctity" of a civil institution.

I suppose marriage equality is socially liberal in as much as it tries to defend and integrate a previously despised minority. But it is socially conservative in its attempt to envelop that minority in the traditions and responsibilities of family life. In this, it is exactly the same as welfare reform: ending a disincentive to family life among a minority that needs more social stability. I have to say that having finally begun to live a married life, all my previous intuitions about its integrating impact have been borne out more profoundly than I ever imagined.

If you can make the leap to seeing gay people as the equal of straight people, then encouraging their marriages to one another is arguably one of the most socially conservative measures now subject to national debate. That's why it remains so saddening that so many social conservatives still regard it as definitionally anathema. I don't think it's a leap to believe that homophobia or fundamentalism are the critical stumbling blocks. Or that they are the real reasons for the resistance.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hope, renewal, and the reality of prejudice

I think both Christmas and the coming New Year must be a time of renewal, of hope and determination to work for a better Kentucky, United States, and world..... where people can experience all the liberties our founding fathers fought for. Therefore, wherever inequality exists and the leaders that are in control refuse to act, there is a greater responsibility for all of us to take a stand against all that dehumanizes the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people.

The flag of the Commonwealth of Kentucky says it best: "United We Stand, Divided We Fall." Thank you to everyone who contributed and/or
donated to Kentucky Equality Federation.

An enormous fight is in front of us in 2008; front and center is the issue of domestic-partner benefits in the Kentucky Retirement System, as outlined by James:

I had hoped the New Year in Kentucky, with a new gubernatorial administration that has to be an improvement over that of the discredited Gov. Ernie Fletcher would start out in an encouraging manner for those of us who believe in equality for everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

Alas, that is not to be. Just as Gov. Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo were sworn in and starting to look around their respective offices, members of their own Democratic party were filing legislation to prevent state universities from offering health care benefits to employees involved in domestic partnerships.

I had hoped that the year 2008 might be a year where those of us who believe in gender and sexual orientation equity would be able to take some steps forward in adding on to rights already achieved --- things like hate crime protection, access to marriage/civil union rights, adoption, automatic rights of inheritance --- instead of having to backtrack and re-fight battles already won.

A few legislators --- led by Democratic Reps. Ancel Smith and Richard Henderson --- do not understand that Kentucky has always been --- and still is --- a place where all people should be welcome to live in harmony.

It is clear that Smith and Henderson, in bringing up a previously defeated proposal to block public universities in Kentucky from extending health benefits to unmarried, live-in partners of the institutions' employees, acted without the sanction of their own party. This has caused an embarrassing situation not only for party leaders, but for Democratic leaders and other party members within the Beshear administration.

Trustees at several Kentucky institutions, led by the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, have approved offering health care to domestic partners of unmarried employees as a matter of good business. The policy makes the universities more competitive with other top universities nationwide, because it opens the pool of potential employees and appeals to the increasing number of private employers --- who can be drawn upon for financial support and to provide cooperative educational opportunities and investment with the universities --- who already extend health care benefits to live-in partners of workers, regardless of sexual orientation.

In other words, the universities' policies are good business for a state that is on the precipice of a new era of economic progress after four failed years of an administration that collapsed under its own prejudices and lack of vision.

The matter of inclusion is a moral and ethical issue. Moral, because all great religions preach that love and tolerance should trump all other rules for living. Ethical, because this country --- and the states that make it up --- was based on the premise that all people are created equal.

If our government creates policies that benefit its public employees, it should do so for all the employees, without discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, and yes, sexual orientation.

If these representatives --- and the other Democrats and Republicans who co-sponsored this legislation, which has its roots soaked in bigotry --- will not withdraw their sponsorship, then the people of their districts should look for gay-supportive candidates from either party to replace them.


Click here to read unedited comments from James.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Attorney General Stumbo to seek his old seat in the House

Attorney General Greg Stumbo will seek his old seat in the state House, he said on WHAS radio (Louisville) this morning.

Freshman Rep. Brandon Spencer, D-Prestonsburg, decided to resign after "prayerful consideration," he said in a letter to Governor Beshear.

Stumbo spoke to Floyd County election officials and told them he would accept the Democratic Party's nomination for a special election to fill Spencer's spot in the 95th House District.

Stumbo spent 24 years in the Kentucky House, 19 in leadership before being elected Attorney General.

At a minimum, Stumbo being back in the Kentucky House will irritate Representative Stan Lee. Stumbo ruled the way Lee wanted on the domestic-partner issue at Kentucky universities, but Stumbo included “a blue print on how to offer domestic partner benefits legally” in his ruling.

Stumbo had been considering a possible run for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell. He had said he would likely challenge McConnell if polling done by an exploratory committee showed him within 10 percentage points of McConnell (see
Ditch Mitch KY to stay updated on McConnell).


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dangerous Nonsense - Some Kentucky Democrats lose their spine!

When pre-filing House Bill BR-204 Representative Smith and Henderson both claim they were pressured by constituents to reintroduce the legislation, which would block universities that receive public funding from offering domestic-partner benefits.

Henderson, specifically, was quoted in the Lexington Herald-Leader as saying he received between "1,200 and 1,500 calls" from his constituents urging him to take action. "I live in an ultraconservative district with 150 churches," Henderson said. "Between 1,200 and 1,500 of my constituents have called, not requesting but directing me to do this." This would suggest that the people of Montgomery, Powell and Wolfe counties are obsessed with denying partner benefits at a rate far beyond the people of the rest of the Commonwealth, since other legislators have not reported their telephones being overwhelmed in such a manner.

Representative Henderson’s figures seem to be skewed. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, in 2000, there were 77 religious congregations in the three counties Henderson represents. Kentucky Equality Federation doesn’t believe that the number of churches in Montgomery, Powell and Wolfe counties has nearly doubled in the past seven years. How can we believe this Representative?

Kentucky Equality Federation is taking the stand on this issue that Representative Henderson’s report of between 1,200 and 1,500 phone calls isn’t realistic. We ask Representative Henderson, as a public figure, to show us the phone records and messages his office recorded that indicate that between 1,200 and 1,500 DIFFERENT people called, “directing [Henderson] to do this.”

Regardless of whether the figures are true or not, Henderson’s stand isn’t with a majority of his constituents. According to the Commonwealth of Kentucky – State Board of Elections Voter Registration Statistics Report, the three counties that Henderson represents have a total of 32,778 registered voters. If Representative Henderson received 1,500 phone calls, it would mean 4.57 % of his constituents are calling to “direct” Henderson to not allow domestic partner benefits. While 1,500 phone calls might seem overwhelming, it doesn’t mean that a Representative should base his actions on a very small minority opinion.

Likewise, it would seem odd that the most pressing issue that Smith, whose districts include Knott, Magoffin and part of Letcher counties --- communities where health care, education, and employment would seem like more urgent concerns --- has to do with micromanaging state universities’ employee health care policies.

Our elected officials should be working on legislation that improves health care access for all Kentuckians and not taking a discriminatory stand against one group of people.

Trustees at several Kentucky institutions, led by the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, have approved offering health care to domestic partners of unmarried employees, including to gay couples.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

House Democrats attack Domestic-Partner Benefits

Democrats in the Kentucky House of Representatives have elected to attack domestic-partner benefits.

Are they crazy? There are over 550,000 Kentuckians without health insurance coverage!

During Governor Beshear’s Inaugural Speech he quoted Kentucky Senator Henry Clay as saying: “Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees. And both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people.”

Some House Democrats apparently disagree.

Ryan Alessi at Pol Watchers is also reporting this (below):

Two Democratic state lawmakers are dredging up a controversial proposal to block public universities in Kentucky from extending health benefits to unmarried, live-in partners of the institutions’ employees.

The move by state Reps. Richard Henderson, D-Jeffersonville, and Ancel Smith of Leburn already has raised eyebrows among members of their own party — especially considering new Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has repeatedly promised to veto any such bills. I had expected it but not from those two,” said Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, who said he opposes the bill. “I expected it from Republicans.”

Sixteen other Democratic lawmakers have signed on to the bill, which Henderson and Smith pre-filed yesterday in preparation for the upcoming General Assembly session that begins Jan. 8.

Both Henderson and Smith said they have received pressure from constituents to block universities that receive public funding from offering such domestic partnership benefits.

“I live in an ultra conservative district with 150 churches,” Henderson said.

Trustees at several Kentucky institutions, led by the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, have approved offering health care to domestic partners of unmarried employees, including to gay couples.

Let’s hope Governor Beshear keeps his promise to veto this horrible legislation.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Congress Drops Hate Crimes Bill

We just received this email from Mat Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel:

I want to tell you about a stunning victory that just took place in Congress.

The House-Senate Conference has removed the Kennedy Hate Crimes bill from the Defense spending bill!

This is incredible news. Most pundits expected Kennedy's strategy of attaching the bill to a must-pass defense appropriations bill would succeed. But citizens like you sent faxes and made phone calls and the message got through!

This is the second major victory we have seen in the last few weeks against attempts to criminalize Christian beliefs in favor of a radical homosexual agenda.

The exclusion of the hate-crimes legislation, sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., is a blow to civil rights groups who say it is necessary to address a rise in crimes motivated by prejudice against a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

In a private meeting on Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and House Democratic Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., told Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., that if the Senate continued to insist on the hate crimes provision the defense legislation would fail.

Levin, as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, oversees the defense authorization bill, which covers the 2008 budget year.

"We don't have the votes," said one House Democratic aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because conference negotiations are ongoing. "We're about 40 votes short, not four or six."

The Senate had voted in September to include the hate-crimes measure in the bill. The House version of the defense authorization bill, approved in May by a 397-27 vote, did not include Kennedy's proposal. The House passed a similar hate crimes measure as a stand-alone bill this year.

After the Senate vote, which prompted nine Republicans to break ranks and swing behind the measure, the White House stopped short of reiterating President Bush's veto threat against the hate crimes measure. But presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino made clear that Bush believes the federal provision is unnecessary.

"State and local law enforcement agencies are effectively using their laws to the full extent they can," Perino said

I don't suspect the Human Rights Campaign will blast emails to its members about this defeat.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pets more important than gays; even if you're a U.S. Ambassador.

What a great man….a person who stood up to injustice for himself, his partner, and our entire community. How sad. The U.S. Department of State cares more about an Ambassador's pets than the person he or she loves; Dogs and Cats are higher on the "food chain" than humans.

By Glenn Kessler, Washington Post Staff Writer

Michael E. Guest, a tall, soft-spoken man with salt-and-pepper hair, looks every bit the diplomat. At the young age of 43, at the start of the Bush administration, he was named ambassador to Romania, and since he returned in 2004 he has trained new ambassadors before they ship out overseas.

But last month, after 26 years in the Foreign Service, he did something uncharacteristically undiplomatic.

Ambassador Guest resigned from the State Department, giving up a career he loved, in order to protest rules and regulations that he believes are unfair to the same-sex partners of Foreign Service officers, giving them fewer benefits than family pets. He had spent the years since his return from Bucharest trying to win changes in policies, appealing directly to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but said his proposals were met with indifference and inertia.

"I've felt compelled to choose between obligations to my partner, who is my family, and service to my country," Guest told a crowd of 75 senior State Department officials, a few steps from Rice's office, at his retirement ceremony on Nov. 20, according to a transcript of his remarks. "That anyone should have to make that choice is a stain on the secretary's leadership, and a shame for this institution and our country."

Same-sex partners -- or unmarried heterosexual partners -- are refused anti-terrorism security training or foreign-language training and are not evacuated when eligible family members are ordered to depart. Unlike spouses, they do not receive diplomatic passports, visas or even use of the State Department mail system. They also must pay their own way overseas, get their own medical care and are left to fend for themselves if a partner is sent to a dangerous post such as Iraq.

Many of these rules, Guest said, could be changed with Rice's signature, which he said was not a matter of gay rights but of equal treatment.

There are 12,000 Foreign Service officers, and about 5 percent are gay.

J. Michelle Schohn, an officer in the intelligence bureau, said she gave up a budding career in archaeology and joined the Foreign Service simply because of the hassles she encountered when her partner was based in Azerbaijan, shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed. One of her partner's colleagues got married and his spouse immediately got a diplomatic passport, but Schohn was treated no differently than any American tourist. Because of the difficulties, she ended up flying to Azerbaijan a month at a time to stay with her partner, and received no housing allowance for staying home.

At one point, during violent protests, "had there been an evacuation, we would have had to pay to evacuate me," she said.

Once Schohn joined the Foreign Service, she said, the department "has been very good to us," posting the two together in Jerusalem and now back in Washington, though same-sex couples technically cannot bid for jobs in tandem.

Another Foreign Service officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of her counterterrorism work, said she had to pay for her partner's evacuation when she was based in an African country that erupted in conflict. Her partner was not allowed to attend embassy security briefings and was prohibited from using the diplomatic postage service. "Effectively, she doesn't exist," she said.

The travel costs of family pets, however, are paid for by the State Department.

When Guest was ambassador, he signed a waiver allowing his partner and other unmarried partners to pay to use the embassy medical facilities. When Guest returned to Washington to head the management and leadership school at State's Foreign Service Institute, he began a campaign to get the rules altered. He won an annual award in 2006 from AFSA for "constructive dissent," but saw little or no response from top officials. Finally, he wrote Rice directly in December, knowing that soon he would be posted again overseas.

"This was my last chance. I never got a response," Guest said yesterday. "I don't know that I expected a response. What I wanted was attention to the issue." He said that in the State Department culture, "one word from the secretary" would have spurred action.

"That's what I was hoping, that I would somehow get to her heart," he said.


Friday, November 30, 2007

World AIDS Day 2007

In the 26 years since scientists first spotted AIDS in America, millions of dollars have been poured into outreach efforts aimed at keeping young people clear of HIV, the virus that causes the disease.

But on the eve of United Nations World AIDS Day, a disturbing statistical fact has emerged in this country: The number of newly infected teens and young adults is suddenly on the rise.


And the question is, why?
.....

But there has been a recent, troubling spike in new infections among gay men, young and old alike. According to the CDC, the rate of new cases of HIV infection linked to male-male sex held steady at around 16,000 cases between 2001-2004, then suddenly jumped to 18,296 in 2005.
.....

"In gay magazines, you now see [ads with] buff, handsome men climbing mountains, with some kind of quote about how 'I'm not letting HIV get in my way,'" Johnston said. "It sends the message that you, too, can be hot, buff and handsome, even with HIV."

Chono-Helsley agreed. "It's always these bright, healthy vibrant young men in these ads," she said. That could spur young gay men to relax their guard and take more risks, thinking that if they do contract HIV, "I only have to take a pill," she said.

The reality of living with HIV in America is much different, however, even when medication is working. According to Johnston, the side effects of powerful HIV-suppressing drug cocktails include fat redistribution (including unsightly "humps"), insulin resistance, higher cholesterol, increased risks for heart disease, and dangerous liver toxicities.

There's also the fear that, someday, HIV will develop mutations that render these drugs useless, triggering the re-emergence of AIDS, she said.

Did you catch that? "In gay magazines, you now see [ads with] buff, handsome men climbing mountains." Do sites such as manhunt.net, gay.com, and others basically do the same thing? Are these sites helping AIDS spread?

How many times have you logged out of MySpace and seen an advertisement for manhunt.net? When you visit these sites, you’ll find pictures of naked men wanting nothing more than a “hookup.” These sites would not survive if people didn’t use them. What does this say about the value sexual relations told in our society today? How do we change it to help our community?


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

HRC playing "catch-up" with the "Wal-Mart issue"

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) appears to be playing catch-up with the “Wal-Mart issue.”

The Human Rights Campaign is giving Wal-Mart (WMT) a red "do not buy" rating in its new consumer guide, bestowing a lump of coal on the retail giant just in time for the holiday shopping season. Citing Wal-Mart's refusal to offer domestic partner benefits to its gay and lesbian workers, the HRC said Tuesday that the USA's biggest private employer has "more work to do in furthering equality." It advised gays and their supporters to shop elsewhere.

Wal-Mart rated a red 40 on a scale of 100, down from a yellow 65 in 2006. It was among 54 companies that scored 45 or lower in HRC's 2008 Corporate Equality index, which assigns ratings to 519 large companies.

Also in the red: Toys R Us, RadioShack (RSH) and AutoZone (AZO).

Wal-Mart rival Target (TGT) rated a "green" 80, meaning that "consumers should make every effort to support these businesses." Last year's guide was downloaded from the group's website (www.hrc.org/buyersguide) more than 250,000 times.


But, we covered this story back in July:

If you shop at Wal-Mart you can find the same (or better) prices at Meijer, K-Mart, Family Dollar, Kroger, or Save-A-Lot. Stop shopping at Wal-Mart! Forget about the so called "convenience" of "everything" being in one store, it is time for the gay community to stand their ground against Wal-Mart.Let us forget for a moment that this company destroys the "American Dream," exploits their employees, and contracts labor for less than $1.00 per hour in other countries.

Let us not forget that Sam Walton, Wal-Mart's founder sit on the Board of Directors of Winn-Dixie for nearly a decade (thereby learning the grocery business) and opened the first Supercenter (with groceries) less than a year after Winn-Dixie retired him. Let us not forget that Wal-Mart targets other stores to run them out of business: K-Mart, Winn-Dixie, Sloan's (Lexington), Rose's, Kroger, Toys "R" Us, Publix (Florida), Food Lion, A&P, Grand Union, Colonial/Big Star and Piggly Wiggly, and Target.

As it stands Wal-Mart remains the only national discount chain that does not offer partnership benefits (both Sears Holding Company and Target offer same-sex domestic partnership benefits). Wal-Mart also has the dubious distinction of being one of the few companies to ever pull back a GLBT initiative.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Last years protests; Thanksgiving

Have a great holiday everyone!

Let us not forget to avoid Wal-Mart. Remember the protests that happened there last year (
story), and Wal-Mart ultimately caved to their demands (read Wal-Mart shuns gay groups).

If you have not reviewed or signed-up to be part of our new
Kentucky Healthcare Equality initiative, please do so.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

London Editorial: When I meet my Maker

I couldn't resist posting an editorial from a newspaper in London sent to me by Dean Byrd, a member of Kentucky Equality Federation's Advisory Council:




I think that just about says it all (condemn what you don't understand or can't tolerate).

FYI to the author: I am a gay Christian, and when I meet my "maker" I will also smile, knowing I was made in his image.....I lived truthfully and never turned my back on anyone in need; I didn't judge people, and I fought my entire life for the liberties and freedoms of the persecuted.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Governor Fletcher's legacy and his final desperate acts to remain in office

With Governor Fletcher still lagging behind in the polls he resorted to posting the Ten Commandments in the Capital yesterday labeling himself “a man of values.” This is funny coming from Fletcher, a man who apparently has no care values of his own. Fletcher’s values consist of a crude calculation of how he can remain in office. His flip-flops on important issues are by now, legendary.

Fletcher began attacking the homosexual population of Kentucky soon after he was indicted to appeal to the right wing:

  • Intolerant Fletcher says that since Kentucky has a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, it also includes banning health insurance, inheritance, and hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples. Funny, I don’t recall those items being included on the 2004 Constitutional Amendment.
  • He refused to veto unconstitutional funding to the University of the Cumberlands, leading Kentucky Equality Federation to hold a protest outside the Governor's Mansion during the Governor's Annual Derby Breakfast (that brings approximately 15,000 people to Frankfort from around the nation).
  • Governor Fletcher also rescinded an executive order Governor Patton had established protecting LGBT people from discrimination in government.
  • Earlier this year Fletcher called the General Assembly into special session to (among other things) ban domestic partner benefits at Kentucky educational institutions even though he reappointed Regents to the Board that supported offering them.
  • His latest aggressive tactic against the gay population includes trying to “scare” voters into voting for him, asking them whether they "want a governor who'd like Kentucky to be another San Francisco."
Ernie, politicians can learn so many things from your world famous flounders. The legacy of the Fletcher Administration will be "what not to do." Hopefully, First Lady Glenna Fletcher gave a “heads up” to staff to begin packing for an evacuation of the Mansion.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

The "Gay Issue" to Governor Fletcher and the Kentucky GOP

According to today’s Herald Leader, the Republican Party of Kentucky and soon to be ex-Governor Fletcher called tens of thousands of voters since Friday asking them whether they "want a governor who'd like Kentucky to be another San Francisco."

But, that’s not all:


Then, last night, Fletcher's lieutenant governor candidate Robbie Rudolph echoed that to a crowd of more than 200 GOP faithful in Lexington. "Do you want a couple of San Francisco treats or do you want a governor?" he asked.

Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, called it Rudolph's "Rice-a-Roni speech."

I take genuine offense to the comments made by the Republican Party of Kentucky, Governor Fletcher, and running "mate." Their comments prove their hatred of homosexuals, and that they have no intention of allowing a “fair and equal Kentucky” so long as they are in office.

The Republicans, along with Fletcher, are at Battle Stations right now, with all hands on deck using buckets to pitch water out of a ship that is submerged.

We don’t want it to be like San Francisco here; just fair. We also want someone running the commonwealth who hasn’t been indicted, doesn’t think he’s above the law, and doesn’t flip-flop on issues.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Westboro Baptist Church ordered to pay $11 Million!

Many would call this justice:

The verdict against Fred Phelps and his daughters pleases Julie MacKenzie of Colorado, whose son's funeral was picketed by the hate group.

"I think it's great," MacKenzie said Wednesday. The November 2005 military funeral in Greeley for her 20-year-old son, Tyler MacKenzie, was targeted by Phelps' group.

"Our Constitution guarantees the right of free speech, but there's also a responsibility for that right," she said. "You've got to accept the consequences of your actions."


Kentucky is no stranger to the “Phelps Clan” (story). Phelps and the church first came to national attention when he organized a protest by his followers outside the 1998 funeral for Matthew Shepherd, the gay college student who was beaten to death in Wyoming.

Church members routinely demonstrate at the funerals of people with AIDS and most recently at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq.

The Kentucky House and Senate passed a law to restrict funeral picketing, a law later struck down in court after being challenged by the ACLU.



Friday, October 19, 2007

Graphic in the Kentucky Kernal brings protests and racial slurs to UK

In a 9-0 vote on Thursday, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights called on the commonwealth’s educational institutions Thursday to stop hate-related incidents and intensify programs to increase diversity on their campuses.

For the past two weeks the University of Kentucky has been consumed with controversy. A cartoon published in the UK paper, the Kentucky Kernel depicted a black student standing bare-chested on a slave auction block as a white auctioneer takes bids from fictitious fraternities with names suggesting that they are all-white and racist: Aryan Omega, Kappa Kappa Kappa (KKK) and Alpha Caucasian.


Almost immediately after being published, protests erupted on campus, and a racial slur was written on a student’s door.

Commission Chairman Henry Curtis noted that in addition to the recent events at UK, the commission has received reports of Ku Klux Klan fliers being distributed at the University of Louisville and hate literature being spread in Bowling Green, Owensboro, Morgantown and Winchester (Brian Stephens, an Advisory Council Member with Kentucky Equality Federation held a counter protest at Morehead State University; click here to read the story from The Independent).

UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. appeared briefly before the commission and said the recent incidents at UK were “ugly and should not have happened.”

Are we slipping backwards, or moving forward in Kentucky? Isn’t adding domestic partner benefits part of that diversity? Republicans in the Kentucky Senate wouldn’t agree (story).


Friday, October 12, 2007

The Culture War Is Real

By: End Marriage Prohibition

Bill O'Reilly is finally right about something! There really is an ongoing culture war being waged in America. According to O'Reilly, the values of White, heterosexual, Christian, business-owning, republican, male, NASCAR fans are constantly being assaulted by gay, femi-nazi, tree-hugging, secular progressives (a.k.a. a bunch of Hippies). And while their may be different types of people here, no group of people will ever change the other. Blacks will never get Whites to change their color. Heterosexuals can't "cure" gays. Tops make horrible Bottoms and Jews can't unkill Jesus. In other words, no matter how diverse we remain our culture will not suffer. If anything, diversity just adds flavor.

The real war on culture comes from what adversely affects every single one of us regardless of race, religious preference, sexual orientation, nationality, sex or gender identity. What morphs us from loving, imaginative children into apathetic, slogan-reciting monsters? There is only one common threat that hurts all people. Ads. Commercials and billboards intentionally seek to undermine our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness by redefining what it means to live a free and happy life.

Bill O'Reilly, who makes a killing from commercial ads, wants us to believe that tolerance, power-sharing, equality and diversity are the greatest threats to America. That is where O'Reilly is wrong. That is like saying war is fought with pizza, artwork and good music. Women demanding and getting equal pay for equal work won't destroy our way of life. However, girls being raised to believe they should look like Barbie may become anorexic, depressed or even suicidal.

The real threat comes from how we are developed to be the perfect consumer. My gay marriage will not cause your parents to divorce. Yet the mainstream media (a.k.a. the Theater of All that is Absurd) only focuses on these types of frivolous issues as opposed to the real issues that deserve our attention.

When children are misled into believing Barbie has the ideal figure then our culture is under attack. By the way, it was determined that it is physically impossible for Humans to look like Barbie. Women would have to be 6'5" and surgically altered in order to look like that. When people truly believe Britney Spears looks fat then you know our culture has been successfully distorted.

Bill O'Reilly is right about there being culture war ravaging America, but it has nothing to do with Mexicans speaking Spanish or gays getting married. This war is about people learning to become apathetic jerks with severely distorted views and opinions.

So what can we do? How do we become a real cultural warrior? Stay tuned for Part 2 after a few words from our sponsors...


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Matthew Shepard Act an empty gesture?

Andrew Sullivan and Steve Chapman's recent comments on the Matthew Shepard Act got me thinking....are they correct? Is the HRC making a bigger deal of this than it really is?

Read their comments before you decide:


A constitutional federal hate crimes bill can only target a minuscule number of "hate crimes" that are related to interstate commerce:

For all its grand intentions, the bill doesn't really do much at all. Supporters would like to make every hate crime a federal offense. But they can't. And the ones they can outlaw are so few and far between that it's hard to see why they bother...

The provision in question snares only those crimes in which someone crosses state lines (as with most federal laws), uses "a channel, facility or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce," or uses a weapon that has traveled across state or international boundaries.

What's the relevance to the murder of Matthew Shepard, or to most of the other attacks on gays? None whatsoever. You might think it's better to do nothing than to do something irrelevant. But for a lot of U.S. Senators, there's no gesture like an empty gesture.

And when you realize that the Shepard case was nothing like the incident the interest groups made it out to be, the pointlessness of this exercise is overwhelming. Except it isn't, of course. The primary point of such a federal bill is to raise funds for a federal interest group like the Human Rights Campaign. It's a perfect fundraising vehicle because it is emotionally visceral, can be framed as a simple case of "are you for beating gay people to death or not?", and gives HRC a slim reed of legislative achievement to sell to its members and donors by direct mail. It's about the money. Period.


Anyone notice a little dislike for a certain national organization? Andrew Sullivan has been critical of the HRC calling them "a patronage wing of the Democratic party, designed primarily to get its members jobs in future Democratic administrations or with Democrats on the Hill (even while Howard Dean treats them like the help)." Sullivan is a gay political commentator and the author of four books, distinguished by his often personal style of political analysis. His political blogs are among the most widely read on the Web.

Regardless if you agree with him or not, U.S. President Bush has promised to veto the legislation saying it is a matter for the states.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Halloween Express misses deadline

Kentucky Equality Federation received a discrimination report when a person who identified himself as the owner of the Halloween Express store located at 3410 James Sanders Blvd in Paducah, KY called a homosexual customer a freak and asked him to leave the store.

Halloween Express was given 48 hours to respond......they declined.

Though each Halloween Express is individually owned, the franchiser has an obligation to the customers who visit stores that bear its name. As such, Kentucky Equality Federation recommends all members, allies, and affiliates avoid Halloween Express stores until further notice.

Blatant intolerance or discrimination must be challenged by our entire community.


UPDATE 3:40 PM: Many of you have questions about the complaint. Additional information is below.

I went into the store and was browsing for a costume. When I went to the shoe section the employees walked away laughing and making crude comments about me looking at women's shoes. I then went to the owner and informed him that i was being treated unfairly and all i got was laughed in the face, and told, "Get out of my store you freak".

Halloween Express (both the owner and corporate) refused to apologize.

Last year an employee at a Steak n' Shake (story) in Louisville called a male customer a faggot.

As a community we must show intolerant people that this type of behavior is unacceptable in a civilized society.

Keep in mind that the American Family Association continues to boycott Ford and Wells Fargo because they support and offer domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Iran and Kentucky; Does the state have the right to kill you?

Does the state have the right to kill you? Consider these two high profile headlines:

  1. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faced sharp criticism yesterday about his opinions on women, gays, Israel, nuclear weapons and the Holocaust in an appearance at Columbia University, where protesters bearing signs reading "Hitler Lives" lined the streets and the university's president issued blistering introductory remarks inside a crowded lecture hall.

    Homosexuals are stoned to death in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran doesn't have homosexuals in their country like the United States.

    Iran is marked as critical by the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).

  2. The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to consider the constitutionality of lethal injections in a case that could affect the way inmates are executed around the country.

    The high court will hear a challenge from two inmates on death row in Kentucky - Ralph Baze and Thomas Clyde Bowling Jr. - who sued the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 2004, claiming lethal injection amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

    Baze had been scheduled for execution Tuesday night, but the Kentucky Supreme Court halted the proceedings earlier this month.

    "This is probably one of the most important cases in decades as it relates to the death penalty," said David Barron, the public defender who represents Baze and Bowling.

    Baze, 52, has been on death row for 14 years. He was sentenced for the 1992 shooting deaths of Powell County Sheriff Steve Bennett and Deputy Arthur Briscoe.

    Bennett and Briscoe were serving warrants on Baze when he shot them. Baze has said the shootings were the result of a family dispute that got out of hand and resulted in the sheriff being called.

    Bowling was sentenced to death for killing Edward and Tina Earley and shooting their 2-year-old son outside the couple's Lexington, Ky., dry-cleaning business in 1990. Bowling was scheduled to die in November 2004, but a judge stopped it after Bowling and Baze sued over the constitutionality of lethal injection.

Does the state ever have the right to kill one of its citizens? Do the circumstances make a difference?

States who carried out the most executions last year: China (at least 1,010 but sources suggest the real tally is between 7,500 and 8,000), Iran (177) Pakistan (82), Iraq (at least 65), Sudan (at least 65), and the United States (53).

FACT: The use of the death penalty is becoming increasingly restrained in retentionist countries. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and the U.S. are the only fully developed countries that have retained the death penalty. The death penalty was overwhelmingly practiced in poor and authoritarian states, which often employed the death penalty as a tool of political oppression.

Though the public stoning of homosexuals is different from a Jury electing to execute a citizen, do the ends justify the means?


Friday, September 14, 2007

Anti-gay groups working overtime to stop the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Anti-gay organizations are really worried about the possibility of not being able to fire someone because of their sexual orientation.

This is the 4th message I have received from different organizations asking me to help stop it. I subscribe to all friendly and opposing organizations because it is critical that we monitor their actions.

This particular organization (below) wants to stop this legislation in the name of Christianity no less. I'm so tired of organizations using Christianity to justify their hatred.

Across Kentucky I've talked to police officers, firefighters, Wal-Mart employees, government employees, etc. over the past couple of years who have been terminated because they are homosexual or bisexual. It's time to stop this!

In less than one month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be the main speaker at the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) annual gala dinner.

I think she wants to bring a gift to the homosexual community.

My sources tell me Pelosi and the House leadership are working to bring to a vote and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), perhaps in time for this gala dinner.

Jordan, ENDA is the Trojan horse that will usher in radical homosexual rights and the criminalization of Christianity. In many ways, ENDA is even more dangerous than the hate crimes legislation currently being pushed because ENDA will put Christian business owners at great risk.

Last week, a House subcommittee held a hearing on ENDA. More hearings are expected as Pelosi’s team pushes toward a vote, most likely in the next 30 days.

I am deeply concerned that Christian business owners are in jepordy. If the Pelosi Congress has its way with ENDA, Christian businesses will quite possibly face the most severe restrictions and worst flood of crippling lawsuits in our nation’s history.

If ENDA passes, there will be no turning back. That's why I want to flood Congress with at least 25,000 faxes and I need your help.

+ + Help stop the Trojan horse

Again, ENDA is clearly a Trojan horse that the homosexual lobby is trying to use to advance its radical agenda and move our nation toward the criminalization of Christianity.

We cannot let this happen!

Please send your faxes today, and thank you for being the blessing you are to this great Nation.

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel

Visit www.kefaction.org to help pass this legislation.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

West Virginia gay man being beaten to death ignored by mainstream media

A gay man being beaten to death in Milton, WV is being completely ignored by mainstream media.

Ricky Williams, 45, was at his new residence Saturday when sometime before 9:30 p.m. a man and two women forced their way into his apartment and beat him, Milton Police Chief Greg Mullins said.

At least two people, including maintenance man Michael Seager, came to Williams' defense, injuring two of the suspects before chasing them off, Seager said. Seager, whose grandmother owns the apartment building on Mason Street beside Milton Elementary, reported that a neighbor told him she heard the assailants yelling a derogatory term for homosexuals.

However, Mullins said the case was not being treated as a hate crime.

A Milton police officer and a Cabell County sheriff's deputy responded to a 911 call at 9:30 p.m. to help break up a fight at Williams' apartment, Mullins said.

Williams, he said, was bandaged by paramedics, but refused to go to the hospital. At about 11:23 p.m., another 911 call was made because Williams was in worse condition than originally thought.

Seager said after the melee was over, Williams said he was all right. But he couldn't remember what year it was.

"It became obvious he had head trauma," Seager said.

On Monday, Mullins was taking statements from the suspects, who he said were visibly intoxicated on Saturday night and unable to give one then. He also sought Williams but found out only then that he had been taken to St. Mary's Medical Center and had slipped into a coma.

On Thursday, Mullins said charges wouldn't be filed until he finishes interviews with witnesses and all those involved with breaking up the fight.

Still, until Williams died Wednesday, it was only looking like battery charges, Mullins said. Now, the three suspects could face homicide charges.

"We're not doing anything until we get all the pieces together," Mullins said.

Like Kentucky, West Virginia was once part of conservative Virginia, but split from them during the middle of the civil war in 1863.

This attack occurred more than 100 miles from Welch, WV (remember in 2006 the police chief blocked paramedics from performing CPR on a gay man because he falsely assumed the man was HIV positive and therefore a health risk).


Click here for a list of gay hate crimes in Kentucky.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Personal Privacy: U.S. Patriot Act under fire again

Your right to privacy just got a little safer.

The federal government has been under increased scrutiny from gay rights activists after it was revealed that the
Pentagon had been spying on gay groups. The Pentagon also confirmed the previous existence of a "gay bomb."

A federal judge struck down parts of the revised USA Patriot Act today, saying investigators must have a court's approval before they can order Internet providers to turn over records without telling customers.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero said the government orders must be subject to meaningful judicial review and that the recently rewritten Patriot Act "offends the fundamental constitutional principles of checks and balances and separation of powers."

The ACLU said it was improper to issue so-called national security letters, or NSLs — investigative tools used by the FBI to compel businesses to turn over customer information — without a judge's order or grand jury subpoena.
Examples of such businesses include Internet service providers, telephone companies and public libraries.

In 2004, ruling on the initial version of the Patriot Act, the judge said the letters violate the Constitution because they amounted to unreasonable search and seizure. He found that the nondisclosure requirement — under which an Internet service provider, for instance, would not be allowed to tell customers that it was turning over their records to the government — violated free speech.

After he ruled, Congress revised the Patriot Act in 2005, and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals directed that Marrero review the law's constitutionality a second time.

The ACLU complained that Congress' revision of the law didn't go far enough to protect people because the government could still order companies to turn over their records and remain silent about it, if the FBI determined that the case involved national security.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ohio wins domestic partner court victory

Great news for the gay couples and domestic partners in the State of Ohio. Maybe Kentucky educational institutions should take note:

Miami University’s (university town of Oxford, Ohio) practice of offering benefits to same-sex “domestic partners” of its employees survived another court challenge Tuesday.

The Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals ruled that State Rep. Tom Brinkman Jr., a Cincinnati Republican, did not have legal standing to sue the university over its benefits policy.

Brinkman had argued the same-sex partnership policy violates an Ohio constitutional ban on civil unions that went into effect in 2004.

As a taxpayer and the parent of two Miami students, Brinkman said he had a legal right to sue.

The appeals court, however, upheld a lower court decision last year that dismissed Brinkman’s lawsuit.

Both courts concluded Brinkman did not have standing as a taxpayer because the school uses private donations to reimburse the state for tax dollars spent on its domestic partner benefits.

Miami began offering benefits to domestic partners of employees in July 2004. School officials have said about 30 people have the benefits at a total cost of less than $100,000.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

FBI to spy on gay groups instead of the Pentagon

This news story states the Pentagon (headquarters of the United States Department of Defense) is closing an anti-terror database that was found to be spying on gay and anti-war groups, but in reality it is simply being transferred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the United Stated Department of Justice. (Click here to read about the Sunshine Project....another brilliant example of how the Pentagon spends our tax dollars)

I guess the United States Government continues to believe gay rights groups are a threat to national security. But this doesn't add up.....the Bush Administration has identified Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. as the breeding ground for terrorists (all Muslim countries). What does this have to do with gay groups? Muslim countries executive and/or stone homosexuals to death.

The Pentagon said Tuesday that it will shut down an anti-terror database that was found to be spying on gay and anti-war groups.

A Pentagon spokesperson said that the database will be closed on September 17 but that much of the information it contained will be sent to the FBI where it will be placed on a database known as Guardian.

The Threat and Local Observation Notices surveillance program, known as TALON, was launched in 2003 track and monitor domestic terror threats.

But it came under intense scrutiny after news reports revealed officials were collecting data on demonstrators and protestors, including those within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Pentagon spokesperson Army Col. Gary Keck denied that pressure from the groups had anything to do with the decision to move the material. Keck said the Pentagon database is being shut down because "the analytical value had declined."


Friday, August 17, 2007

Bigoted organizations that wrongfully right in the name of righteousness.

As the American Family Association continues its boycott of Ford, others are actually sponsoring the national hate group that lists the following on their website:

  • The mandate for marriage continues. Voters in seven states passed amendments that protected the institution of a man and a woman.
  • Homosexual groups are pushing to place gender confusion and the cross-dress identities into the youngest levels of public education. American Family Association (AFA) says it has now secured over 700,000 signatures from those pledging to boycott the Ford Motor Company over its continued support of same-sex marriage and homosexual advocacy.
  • Supporters of hate crimes laws routinely deny that these politically correct laws are intended to silence religious speech or opposition to gay rights political agendas. Yet, when given the chance to prove this claim, the supporters of hate crimes show their true colors.
  • AT&T needs to hear from you today! Ask them to stop sponsoring the mockery of God on TNT network.

Who supports and sponsors the American Family Association, and the Louisville based American Family Association of Kentucky?

  • Kroger
  • Thornton's
  • Wal-Mart (click here for a related post about Wal-Mart)

When you visit the national American Family Association website and click "donate," there is an annoying cartoon-like character of Don Wildmon, their Chairman, thanking you for your donating. Well, thanks but no thanks Don, I'll be keeping my money for a more worthwhile cause other than supporting an intolerant, bigoted organization such as yours.

The United States of America has over 300 million citizens. The American Family Association claims nearly 3.3 million members which accounts for 1% of the total population. Is it really a stretch to believe that 1% of the total United States population are closet homosexuals or have gay issues they haven't addressed yet? Why else would they be so terrified of a minority group and do everything possible to deny constitutional freedoms to them? I know one thing.....I'm sick of them spoon feeding rhetoric to the public.....I'm fighting back, starting with this post.

Though the American Family Association claims nearly 3.3 million members, their Kentucky chapter could only manage to gather a mere 200 people to visit the Kentucky Capital the day they held a rally and no lawmaker was present.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kentucky Museum draws more fire.

The anti-gay Northern Kentucky Museum arbitrarily throws science out the door and creates their own evolution timeline. The museum has made a lot of publicity around the commonwealth and indeed, the nation.

We felt the following posts from other bloggers in Kentucky was important enough to post on this site to inform our readers.

From DitchMitchKY: Three days after the Memorial Day opening of Answers in Genesis’ $27 million Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky, a group called Creation Ministries International filed suit in the Supreme Court of Queensland in the Commonwealth of Australia. Among other things, the suit claims the Kentucky group stole subscribers for its Answers magazine by claiming that the Australians’ Creation magazine was “no longer available.”


(Note: This post is a follow-up to the excellent piece that Daniel Phelps, President of the Kentucky Paleontological Society, wrote about the "Anti-Museum" (aka Creation Museum), as well as his disturbing discovery concerning the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau, as discussed below.)

From: Bluegrass Report: If someone wants to believe that humans once put saddles on the back of dinosaurs and rode them (per the display at left from the Creation Museum), well, knock yourself out. I'm sure they're one of those rare voting blocks that Governor Fletcher (R) has in his pocket.

But when legislatively-created agencies like the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau start pimping a place that promotes the fraudulent notion that humans and dinosaurs once happily co-habitation, where we rode them like something straight of The Flintstones, well, I have a problem with that.

Here's a page directly from the Bureau's website:


The 50,000 sq. ft. Creation Museum located within the greater Cincinnati area will proclaim the Bible as supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice in every area it touches on. Set to open in June 2007, this “walk through history” museum will counter evolutionary natural history museums that turn countless minds against Christ and Scripture.


According to this legislatively-created group we're told that national history museums "turn countless minds against Christ and Scripture." Got that?


After doing a little research, I learned that the President and CEO of the Bureau is a gentleman named Thomas P. Caradonio. Aside from the offensive proselytizing of his organization's depiction of the whackjob museum, I also noted that Caradonio was just appointed by Governor Fletcher as the Chairman of Kentucky's Tourism Development Finance Authority, a public agency that is charged to "assist small tourism attractions obtain financing necessary for the development or expansion of small tourism attractions."

So I guess this begs the question whether the Caradonio-led Tourism Development Finance Authority will be recruiting and spending state dollars on more Creation Museums as they accuse science-based activities as the shunning of Jesus Christ and Scripture?

Seems like another sad black mark on a state that spends so much money trying woo high-tech companies (i.e., those whose business models are firmly rooting in the very science its leadership mocks) to relocate to Kentucky while blasting those of us who (gasp) rely on science to explain things in our history...

Additional United We Stand Comments: I was shocked when I followed the link to the Northern Kentucky CVB and found the page Bluegrass Report mentions. The Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is charged with collecting 1% in transient room taxes from hotel owners in the Northern Kentucky area. Anytime someone stays in a hotel in Kentucky they pay a 1% tax the hotel owners then pays to local CVB's to promote tourism.

In order to remain impartial, I agree that the CVB should list the Museum on their website. However, the words "museum will counter evolutionary natural history museums that turn countless minds against Christ and Scripture" should not be listed on the CVB's website.

Would they allow a hotel to place "the best place to have sex in the world," or "the only hotel without roaches," or how about "the best hotel in Northern Kentucky" on their website? I don't think so.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Family group plans Capital rally....even though lawmakers won't be there!

The American Family Association sent massive mailers to people across Kentucky this month asking them to "stop the special tax-supported medical benefits for the live-in boyfriends of homosexual teachers at University of Louisville." This illustrates the groups hate of homosexuals since LGBT people are expected to account for less 1% of those who enroll in the domestic-partner program.

The American Family Association needs to get a new agenda because this one is failing. A
UCLA study released in February 2007 found that 61% of incoming freshmen last year agreed that same-sex couples should have the right to marriage, up 3.3 percentage points from 2005. America's opinion is changing! Perhaps this is what really scares the American Family Association, as well as the Family Foundation of Kentucky.

Governor Fletcher had asked lawmakers to consider a ban on domestic-partner benefits at state universities and other agencies during the July special session, but said he will honor the wishes of House Democrats and won't put the issue on the agenda of another special session.

The American Family Association of Kentucky has sent mailers in recent days touting a "rally to protect marriage" on the Capitol steps at 2 p.m. Monday, even though no one will be there!

A search of the Kentucky Secretary of State's database indicates they received permission from the Kentucky Department of State to do business in Kentucky on May 08, 2001 and are based in Mississippi. The group was incorporated in the State of Mississippi as a non-profit on July 21, 1977.

Check-out their website, it says they are "Upholding Kentucky's Christian Values." So.......I guess we are "Upholding Kentucky's Homosexual Values," how do think that would look as our 'catch phrase' on our website?


Friday, August 10, 2007

LOGO presidential debate - gay marriage.

Six of the candidates seeking the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination participated Thursday in a two-hour forum in Los Angeles devoted to issues of concern to gays and lesbians. The event — moderated by journalist Margaret Carlson was broadcast live on Logo, a lifestyle cable channel aimed at gay and lesbian viewers.

For anyone who missed the LOGO presidential debate you can watch it here.







The basic subject of the LOGO debate was gay marriage, non-discrimination, etc. This is what Law Digest says about gay marriage:

The legal issues surrounding same-sex marriage in the United States are complicated by the nation's federal system of government. Traditionally, the federal government did not attempt to establish its own definition of marriage; any marriage recognized by a state was recognized by the federal government, even if that marriage was not recognized by one or more other states (as was the case with interracial marriage before 1967). With the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, however, a marriage was explicitly defined as a union of one man and one woman for the purposes of federal law. (See 1 U.S.C. § 7.)

However, many aspects of marriage law affecting the day to day lives of inhabitants of the United States are determined by the states, not the federal government, and the Defense of Marriage Act does not prevent individual states from defining marriage as they see fit; indeed, legal scholars have stated that the federal government cannot impose a definition of marriage onto the laws of the various states.

Kentucky Constitution, Section 233A: Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.

Kentucky Revised Statutes
Section 402.005: Definition of marriage. As used and recognized in the law of the Commonwealth, "marriage" refers only to the civil status, condition, or relation of one (1) man and one (1) woman united in law for life, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent upon those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex.

Gay marriage? It isn't going to happen in Kentucky anytime soon. I'd settle for the following for now (progress takes time):
  • A Kentucky law prohibiting discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • A Kentucky law prohibiting discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • A Kentucky law prohibiting discrimination in credit based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • A Kentucky law prohibiting discrimination in service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • A Kentucky law giving me the legal right to visit my "partner" in the hospital.
  • The Governor, as well as the Kentucky House of Representatives and Senate to leave the issue of "domestic-partner" at Kentucky educational facilities alone.

For additional coverage about the debate visit InterstateQ.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Gay Man & Sick Partner's Family Highlights Lack Of Same-Sex Couple Rights.

Hospital visitation rights*, as well as the right to make decisions for your partner are only two of the many rights the Commonwealth of Kentucky denies same-sex couples (and in the case, the State of Indiana).

This case however is bringing national attention to one of the many problems faced by same-sex couples:

For a quarter century Patrick Atkins and Brett Conrad shared their lives including a home and bank accounts but when Atkins fell near fatally ill Conrad discovered he had no rights in determining the care or who would deliver it to his ailing partner.

In 2005 Atkins collapsed while on a business trip to Atlanta. He had a ruptured aneurysm and later suffered a stroke while hospitalized.

When Conrad arrived in Atlanta Atkins' family directed the hospital to refuse him access to the ailing 47-year old, the Indianapolis Star reports. He was allowed by sympathetic hospital staff to sneak in after hours and after Atkins parents had left.

When Atkins was moved to a nursing home Conrad again was forced to sneak in to see the man with whom he had spend more than half his life.

Later that year Conrad filed for guardianship of Atkins. But the now severely disabled man's parents quickly moved their son to their home and have refused to allow Conrad access to him. For the past two years Conrad has been battling the Atkins family in court.

Legal documents obtained by the Star show that Atkins' mother, Jeanne Atkins, believes homosexuality is a sin and refuses to acknowledge the men's relationship. In June the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Conrad must have visitation rights.

"Brett and Patrick have spent 25 years together as life partners - longer than Patrick lived at home with his parents - and their future life together has been destroyed by Patrick's tragic medical condition and by the Atkinses' unwillingness to accept their son's lifestyle," the ruling said.

But the court left the care of Atkins up to his parents. The Atkins family has asked the Appeals Court to reconsider the visitation ruling. Eventually the case is expected to go to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Indiana (like Kentucky) has a so-called defense of marriage law barring same-sex couples from marrying and no legislation giving any rights to gay and lesbian couples.

* Kentucky Equality Federation and allied organizations tried unsuccessfully to get hospital visitation rights passed by the 2007 Kentucky General Assembly.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fletcher reappoints Regents that support domestic-partner benefits.

Governor Fletcher's policy flip-flops are legendary, and this article in yesterday's Herald-Leader about his reappointments to the Board of Regents takes the cake:

Governor Ernie Fletcher filled three spots on the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville boards of trustees Wednesday with people whose stances run the gamut on the controversial topic of providing domestic-partner benefits to college employees.

Three of those named — two from UK and one from U of L — are reappointments
of trustees first given those plum assignments by Fletcher’s Democratic predecessor, Governor Paul Patton.

The governor reappointed Louisville civic activist Owsley Brown Frazier, the retired vice chairman of the board of Brown-Foreman Corp.
Frazier was among the 14 U of L trustees who backed a proposal to provide health benefits to the unmarried partners of university employees, which would allow gay couples to be covered.

Fletcher recently has urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would block agencies that receive state funds, such as universities, from offering such benefits and included that issue among 67 items on his agenda for a special legislative session. That was a change from the governor’s stance this spring, in which he said such decisions about benefits should be left up to the universities.

Fletcher now has appointed a total of 10 to UK, including extending the terms of May and Miles, and has chosen 12 of U of L’s trustees, which includes Frazier’s reappointment.

This is yet another example of how Governor Fletcher doesn't have any core values of his own, his moves are a pure calculation of how he can stay in office, by reaching out to the conservative right wing and asking the Kentucky House and Senate to pass legislation to ban domestic-partner benefits.

If Governor Fletcher doesn't want the universitys to decide the issues on their own (as they are supposed to), why did he reappoint members back to the Board of Regents that voted in favor of domestic partner benefits?


Monday, July 30, 2007

Family Foundation wants religion to govern the land (judging from the signs they held).

"The Family Foundation of Kentucky, our 'KKK members with church clothes on' are holding signs deliberately bringing religion into government even though it is prohibited by the Commonwealth's Constitution. Neither domestic-partner benefits nor marriage have anything to do with religion; marriage is granted and dissolved by the state, not the church." - Jordan Palmer, Kentucky Equality Federation President

Kentucky Equality Federation united with Kentucky Fairness Alliance, Louisville's Fairness Campaign, Berea Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Louisville Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the University of Louisville Faculty and Staff for Human Rights Coordinating Committee, and the Kentucky Gay-Straight Alliance Coalition pledge to stand strong and not give up this fight.

Children holding signs that read “Marriage: Gods Way” and senior citizens in wheelchairs with stickers that demanded protection of marriage joined the crowd that filled the Capitol Rotunda today protesting domestic-partner benefits.

“It’s a good thing (the children) are here today because this institution we’re protecting is for them,” said Rep. Keith Hall, D-Pikeville.

“Some political extremists still attack the Trustees’ actions, and I think this is unfair,” stated Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo. “The Governor selected these prominent citizens to keep Kentucky’s universities competitive and modern. Although the Trustees erred in extending domestic partner benefits to a narrow class of people, they have promptly taken corrective action in light of my recent opinion upholding the Marriage Amendment."

Senate President David Williams said after his short address that it seems unlikely the issue of domestic-partner benefits will be on the agenda of an anticipated Aug. 13 special session unless both chambers agree to take it up.

Rep. Jim Gooch, who was one of three Democrats to attend the rally, told the crowd the issue would likely not be taken up until January, but asked them to continue pressing for legislation.

The group also circulated a list of home and office numbers of legislators. Rep. Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, told the crowd he’d recieved 59 voicemails regarding the bill when he checked his messages this morning. All of them, he said, were in favor of banning domestic partner benefits.

Sections of this post taken from Poll Watchers.


KKK with church clothes on......Family Foundation of Kentucky

Someone posted a comment on Kentucky Progress stating "The Family Foundation is nothing but the KKK with church cloths on. The Kentucky Citizen publication they peddle is out right hate speech." We could not agree more!

"The KKK with church clothes on" will be holding a rally in Frankfort today attempting to stop Kentucky families from having health insurance coverage.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lexington magazine bans any mention of gay people.

Nougat, a Lexington magazine bans any mention of gay people, because such talk is "obscene".

From BlueGrassRoots:

About a week and a half ago, I pitched an idea to one of my editors about writing a review about my little visit to the Crazy-Ass Creation Museum.

My editor wrote me back saying that Nougat will no longer make any reference to "controversial" subjects, so they could not do any story on the museum. In fact, she specifically said that Nougat will now refuse to run any article that talks about "religion, gays or abortion".

I replied, "so you're an alternative independent magazine, yet you refuse to even mention women's reproductive freedom, attacks on science and human reason, and the denial of civil rights for an entire class of citizens? ........ Interesting."

She responded by saying that they've tried that "edgy" stuff before, but they're now going to cover safe topics so they can get more advertising dollars. Additionally, she said that since they're starting to mail to one Lexington zip code, they could be sued by someone for "corrupting their children".


Leave your comments here and we will forward them to Nougat Magazine, or click here to email them yourself!

UPDATE: You can see the editor's comments below.

The editor stated "Because we have chosen to mail to 40502, we have to watch what we say, because one complaint to the postmaster general about profanity or X rated material, could get us put out of business, and I won't risk that."

The editor notes this about the contributor: "Nothing I do makes him happy. If I edit his writing, I am censoring him. So it was easier to cut him, and frankly, given the headache he has become, we may just leave it that way."

Our question to the editor: So long as the article does not include profanity, and you want to have an "edgy stuff" section, what is the problem? Especially if you print "Opinion" above the article.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Denied!

This is a listing of "disabilities" the gay community must put up with. Conservatives say their is no use for civil unions, etc. well, what about the following rights homosexual couples are not entitled to:

- 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;
- Legal status with partner’s children;
- Making partner medical decisions;
- Payment of worker's compensation benefits after death;
- Permission to make arrangements for burial or cremation;
- Right to inherit property;
- Rights and proceedings for hospitalization and treatment (both voluntary and involuntary);
- Spousal privilege and confidential marriage communications;
- Tax relief for natural disaster losses;
- Right to marry someone out of the country, and bring them back here to the U.S.

The denied rights we judge to be the worst have been placed in bold.

In a "free society" where homosexual couples must also pay taxes.....why not refuse? If the government refuses to recognize our relationships maybe we should refuse to recognize their authority (just a thought, but gosh that would be funny).

Is this list missing anything?