Thursday, June 28, 2007

Family Foundation of Kentucky threatens to file an injunction to stop UK domestic partnerships.

The Family Foundation of Kentucky is considering filing an injunction against the University of Kentucky to stop domestic partner benefits from going into effect on Monday when their new fiscal year begins.

Let them file their injunction, because doing so could open a Pandora's box they will never be able to close again.

Domestic Partnership? The real issue here with the Family Foundation of Kentucky is if homosexuals have the rights to any of the benefits associated with marriage.
Why would they not?

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.

Marriage is something created by the state (both Kentucky and the United States) for the benefit of its citizens.

Most people cannot disassociate a chapel, white dress, and a best man from their definition of marriage. The only religious thing about marriage however is in the minds of the people. When a marriage is dissolved it is done by the state, not God. When a minister pronounces someone married he or she does so by saying "by the power invested in me by the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

Marriage Defined:
Marriage is an interpersonal relationship with governmental, social, or religious recognition, usually intimate and sexual, and often created as a contract.

The reasons people marry vary widely, but usually include one or more of the following: legal, social and economic stability; the formation of a family unit; procreation and the education and nurturing of children; legitimizing sexual relations; public declaration of love.

  • What gives heterosexual couples the right to be the only ones to enjoy this? The state.
  • Is Section 233A (passed by a 2004 Constitutional Amendment) of the Kentucky Constitution unconstitutional? Yes. It violates Section I, Section II, Section III, and Section IV of the Kentucky Constitution.
  • Does Section 233A of the Kentucky Constitution violate United State law? 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.) Thus, no act or agency of the U.S. federal government currently recognizes same-sex marriage.

    Some opponents of same-sex marriage, wanting to ensure that the constitutionality of such laws cannot be challenged in the courts under the Full Faith and Credit clause, Equal Protection Clause or Due process clause of the United States Constitution, have proposed a Federal Marriage Amendment to the constitution that would prevent the federal government or any state from providing a marriage or the legal incidents thereof to a same-sex couple, whether through the legislature or the courts.

Let the Family Foundation of Kentucky file their injunction so the legal battle may finally begin.

A UCLA report released in January 2007 about the attitudes of college freshmen nationwide says acceptance of same-sex marriage grew between 2005 and 2006. The study 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.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wal-Mart shuns gay groups!

Wal-Mart sets a bad example for the world. Disney, Target, Ford, and other companies never folded to homophobic groups, but Wal-Mart as the world's largest retailer could not stand its ground. What a horrible example!

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, has decided to curb its support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) organizations after conservative Christian groups threatened a boycott, and after some of its own employees expressed disapproval. The move comes a year after Wal-Mart had put on a gay-friendly smile. The company joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. It sponsored the annual convention of Out & Equal, a group that promotes gay rights in the workplace, and sold gay-themed jewelry in stores.

"We are not currently planning corporate-level contributions to GLBT groups," said Mona Williams, the company's senior vice president of corporate communications. Individual stores can still donate to gay groups.

If you shop at Wal-Mart you can find the same (or better) prices at Meijer, K-Mart, Family Dollar, Kroger, or Sav-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.

Wal-Mart doesn't want a pice of the pie, the want the whole thing: "In North America, Wal-Mart's primary competition includes department stores like Kmart, Target, Meijer, or Canada's Zellers, Winners, or Giant Tiger. Wal-Mart's move into the grocery business in the late 1990s has also positioned it against major supermarket chains in both the United States and Canada like Winn-Dixie, Kroger, Food Lion, A&P, and Albertsons. Several smaller retailers, primarily dollar stores, such as Family Dollar and Dollar General, have been able to find a small niche market and compete successfully against Wal-Mart for home consumer sales. In 2004, Wal-Mart responded by testing their own dollar store concept, a subsection of some stores known as "Pennies-n-Cents."

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.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sunshine Project Uncovers US Military "Gay Bomb".

You must read this story to believe it. This was initially reported by The Washington Post:

Pentagon Examined Sexual Warfare Proposal From Air Force's Wright Laboratory

The Washington Post
By: Emil Steiner

In my job I come across a lot of strange stories, but this is one is almost too wild to believe. In December 2004, The Sunshine Project, a watchdog group based in Austin, Tex., and Hamburg, Germany, that opposes biological weapons, uncovered a "U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting." The story got some press in early 2005, but quickly vanished into that great internet junkyard of forgotten URLs, the only memory being a lonely wikipedia entry.

There it lay, all but dead until one week ago when The Huffington Post resuscitated the tale with a tongue-in-cheek entry asking: "[i]sn't it always the best ideas which fall by the wayside?" A CBS news affiliate in California adopted it last Friday and since then this offbeat classic has experienced a viral rebirth across the blogosphere. Here are the broad-strokes:

The proposal came from the Air Force's Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, which requested $7.5 million to develop a so-called "gay-bomb." Using the Freedom of Information Act, Edward Hammond, director of the U.S. office of the Sunshine Project, obtained a copy which was "part of a military effort to develop non-lethal weapons." If completed, the bomb would release a chemical aphrodisiac "and by virtue of either breathing or having their skin exposed to this chemical... soldiers would become gay." This would cause their units to break down as the troops "became irresistibly attractive to one another." In addition to a "gay bomb" the proposal also mentions using chemicals which could make bees angry so that enemy forces would be attacked not only by our troops but also swarms of stinging insects.

Defense Department officials have acknowledged that such ideas were proposed by the Air Force in 1994.

So, much like the media's coverage of this story, the original "gay bomb" idea may have been proposed, dismissed and then resurrected by a different branch of the military (in media terms, think print to blog to TV). Now the gay and lesbian communities, which are already suspicious of the U.S. military, have yet another reason to shake their heads in disbelief. And they are not alone. Leave aside the "Kids In The Hall" absurdity of "attack bees" and "gay bombs." The fact that The United States Air Force asked for $7.5 million for a project that assumes a) sexual orientation can be altered through chemicals and b) homosexuals are more interested in sex than duty is certainly worthy of a second life in the blogosphere.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Northern Kentucky's new museum (must read to believe).

I raised my children to be religious, but you have to read this to believe it:

Isn't it amazing this was actually printed in a Kentucky newspaper?


Kentucky's intolerant Senate President, David Williams under fire.

The new heads of the Kentucky Democratic are "seriously considering" filing an ethics complaint against state Senate President David Williams.

According to party vice-chairman Jennifer Moore, she's looking into the possibility that Williams violated legislative ethics rules when he asked Frankfort lobbyists to pleadge donations money that would be used for 2008 campaigns of republican senators. It's illegal for Frankfort lobbyists to give directly to legislators or caucus funds controlled by legislative leaders. Williams has said that was not the case with his solicitation.

But Moore says there are serious questions about Williams' conduct. No lobbyist has filed a complaint against Williams. At least two have told me they felt pressured to give and questioned the legality of the "pledge cards" but believed it would be political suicide to file a complaint against the powerful senate president.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday's Herald Leader Article - Dr. James Holsinger.

The Herald Leader had a front page article today about Dr. James Holsinger, the homophobic nominee for U.S. Surgeon General.

"His posture on things is based on the science of health and disease, not on any moral or health issue," said Dr. F. Douglas Scutchfield, a colleague at UK.


In Lexington, Holsinger and his wife, Barbara, were asked to be part of a team that founded Hope Springs Community Church, which has a Hispanic ministry and recovery ministries for those with addictions to drugs, alcohol and sex. The recovery ministry includes some who no longer wish to be gay, the Rev. David Calhoun has said.

However, Calhoun said in an e-mail last week that the church does not have a specific ministry targeted at "curing" gays -- as some gay-rights groups have charged.

In 2000, Holsinger was elected to the United Methodist Church's Judicial Council, which rules on disputes involving church doctrine. As one of the nine members of the court, Holsinger ruled with others that a lesbian in a committed relationship could not continue to be a minister and that a pastor could withhold church membership from a gay man.

In 1988, Holsinger began serving on a national church committee to study homosexuality and make recommendations on whether church doctrine should be changed.

The committee took four years to consider the issue, and, in 1991, Holsinger wrote a paper entitled the Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality. In it, he makes a biological argument that gay sex is unnatural and unhealthy. He argues that, like male and female pipe fittings, certain body parts are designed for one another.

The paper has drawn wide criticism from gay-rights groups. They say it represents an out-dated view, even for 1991, of gay sex. The American Psychological Association, for example, removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973.

Shortly after he submitted the paper, Holsinger withdrew from the committee. At the time, the committee was beginning to form its opinion, said the Rev. Phil Wogaman, who served on the committee and is now retired.

Most of the members wanted to remove language from church doctrine that said the church did not condone homosexuality and "considered its practice incompatible with Christian teaching," Wogaman said.

The majority believed that homosexuality, if practiced in a caring, committed relationship, was acceptable, Wogaman said. "When the majority was beginning to form its views, Dr. Holsinger was in strong disagreement with that and chose to leave the committee, in some anger," Wogaman said.

Holsinger opposed any recognition of homosexuality as normal, Wogaman said. "He took the view that it's pathological, that homosexuality is both sin and a kind of mental sickness," Wogaman said. "He was quite vocal about it."

Moral issue? What moral issue? This is crazy! What if someone has a "moral" issue with him being Methodist?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Warning: The Surgeon General may damage your health and send you to an ex-gay camp.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Fletcher expected to outline topics the General Assembly may deliberate by Monday.

Kentucky Governor Fletcher is pondering issues for the General Assembly to discuss when he calls them into special session according to an article published earlier by the Herald-Leader.

Fletcher has been hinting for weeks about calling a special session that would at least include consideration of an energy bill on which lawmakers couldn't agree in March. He said last month he was waiting until after the May 22 primary elections.

Neither Jodi Whitaker, Fletcher's spokeswoman, nor Senate President David L. Williams would say what dates the governor was considering.

"The governor talked about several time frames, but I don't want to break his confidence," Williams said. But Williams added that this summer offers a "window of opportunity" while lawmakers' children are out of school and before the governor ramps up his re-election campaign in the fall against Democratic challenger Steve Beshear.

Beyond the energy bill -- which contains incentives for companies that would turn coal into gasoline -- other issues on the table include:

  • State funding for the relocation of a runway at Blue Grass Airport.
  • Restoration of money for university and state building projects Fletcher vetoed in 2006.
  • Approval of funds for a stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park for the World Equestrian Games in 2010.
  • A bill that provides state tax breaks to the families of active military personnel.
  • A bill to bar public universities from providing health benefits to live-in partners of employees.
  • And two Senate education bills left over from this spring's session aimed at improving math and science instruction.

Did you notice? A bill to bar public universities from providing health benefits to live-in partners of employees.

Equality and fairness doesn't live here, or more to the point, it has not in the Fletcher Administration.

We must remember Kentucky's first Republican chief executive in more than 30 years also rescinded an executive order signed by former Governor Patton that protected gays and lesbians in state government from discrimination. That's not even the worst of it.....of the 365 days in a year, Governor Fletcher chose "diversity day," to do this!

Governor Fletcher, a Baptist minister, also refused to veto 11 million dollars in funding to the University of the Cumberlands in Southeastern Kentucky to build a new pharmacy school after they expelled a gay student. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky expressly prohibits funding to private educational institutions. This is ultimately expected to end up in the hands of the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Fletcher is expected to announce what the General Assembly may deliberate by Monday. Per the Kentucky Constitution, when the House and Senate is not in session the governor may call them into special session to deliberate specific issues.

Fletcher is under pressure from The Family Foundation of Kentucky to add domestic-partner benefits to what the General Assembly may deliberate, and drawing fire from Kentucky Equality Federation, Louisville's Fairness Campaign, and the Kentucky Fairness Alliance for even considering it.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Kentucky Attorney General rules domestic partner benefits unconstitutional.

Kentucky's top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Greg Stumbo (D) ruled domestic-partner benefits unconstitutional today, but left the door open for universities and colleges around the commonwealth to make them constitutional by broadening their definition of domestic-partner.

House Representative Stan Lee (R), currently running for the Office of Attorney General to replace Stumbo was one of two representatives to request the opinion (no surprise there).

“They still have the flexibility to allow and to offer their health insurance plan and its benefit structure to other people,” Stumbo said. “They cannot define the class of people in a manner that would be creating a legal status similar to that of marriage.”

The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville currently offer domestic-partner benefits.

As I read Stumbo's opinion something struck a cord with me, from another state:

  • In 2004 Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (D), acting on the advice of Attorney General Mike Cox (R), terminated domestic partner benefits that had been won by state unions.
  • In February 2007 the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled the state's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage prevents public institutions from providing benefits to same-sex partners of employees.

Here we have a clear case of party lines. A democratic attorney general doesn't slam the door; a republican attorney general does.


"When ruling domestic-partner benefits unconstitutional in their current form Attorney General Greg Stumbo appears to have made an unbiased opinion based on the commonwealth's current laws and various court decisions. Though this isn't the opinion we obviously wanted, General Stumbo was very clear about ways existing domestic-partner benefits could be made constitutional," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "It was no surprise that Lexington's intolerant House Representative Stan Lee (R) was one of two officials requesting the ruling."