Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NKU to offer same-sex benefits

Northern Kentucky University’s plan to allow same-sex domestic partner benefits (story) has reignited controversy about same-sex civil rights across the Commonwealth. The Board of Regents at NKU was wise to wait until the 2008 General Assembly adjourned before approving the new benefits.

This comes more than two years after NKU’s Faculty Senate President recommended the benefits package.

Some of the worst comments around the Commonwealth:

  1. I am against anything which promotes or encourages same-sex partnership because the bible says that it is a sin. We need to encourage better moral standards for our children, even in college levels.
  2. This is exactly what we needed, paying medical bills for nasty queers.
  3. I have no problem with the decision IF the university would also apply this policy to heterosexual unmarried couples who "live in the employee's household for at least 12 months and be "financially interdependent" with the employee." That way the policy would be fair to everyone regardless of sexual preference. If the policy is only available to same sex partners than it is outright discrimination by a government entity. Just make it fair to everyone and everyone will be happy.

Comment # 3 makes a good point! Under this line of thinking, homosexuals are being discriminated against every day…..we cannot file joint tax returns, no marriage, no civil union, no criminal injuries compensation, no exemption from conveyance tax, no hospital visitation rights, no international immigration or Visa rights, etc., etc. Thanks for reminding us just how bad the Commonwealth of Kentucky treats us!

Congratulations to everyone at NKU and its Board of did the right thing!

Friday, April 25, 2008

National Day of Silence

Today is the National Day of Silence.

The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.

This year’s event will be held in memory of Lawrence King, a California 8th-grader who was shot and killed February 12, 2008 by a classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. Hundreds of thousands of students will come together on April 25 to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Free speech isn’t really free is it?

The Freedom of Speech is granted by the Kentucky Constitution, the U.S. Constitution, as well as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Free speech isn’t really free is it? Millions of people have died to protect it in both Worlds Wars alone; I wouldn’t call that free, it came with a large price attached to it. Does a responsibility come with the Freedom of Speech?

After seeing post after post about Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church ( finally getting what they deserve (a federal court has ordered liens against the Westboro Baptist Church, which recently lost a $5 Million Dollar civil suit).

The church expresses the idea that nearly every tragedy in the world is linked to homosexuality – specifically society's increasing tolerance and acceptance of the "Homosexual Agenda." The group maintains that God hates homosexuals above all other kinds of "sinners" and that homosexuality should be a capital crime.

The Kentucky General Assembly enacted legislation to protect Kentuckians from the Phelps clan during funerals; the ACLU however did not agree with the legislation, sued the Commonwealth, and ultimately the law was considered unconstitutional.

The United States First Amendment grants absolute freedom of speech, placing the burden upon each state to demonstrate when (if) a limitation of this freedom is necessary, such as the examples below:
  • Defamation (slander and libel)
  • Product defamation (criticism of commercial products; sometimes called product libel or product disparagement)
  • Threats
  • Lying in court (perjury)
  • Public use and/or disclosure of anything covered by a confidentiality agreement
  • Talking out of turn during a trial, or talk that causes contempt of court
  • Speaking publicly without a permit (not enforceable in Kentucky; see the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky)
  • Speaking publicly outside of a free speech zone (not enforceable in Kentucky; see the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky)
  • Company secrets (trade secrets), such as how a product is made or company strategy.
  • Lies that cause a crowd to panic or causes Clear and present danger or Imminent lawless action, such as shouting fire in a crowded theater
  • Fighting words doctrine: "insulting or 'fighting words', those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace"
  • Treason: to talk publicly of the death of all citizens or the overthrow of the state (the act of treason against the state of punishable by death in the Commonwealth of Kentucky).

Should the Westboro Baptist Church be permitted to protest funerals and gay pride events? Don’t the people present have the right to assemble without being interrupted? What about the mental anguish involved in being protested against (which is why the Westboro Baptist Church has been ordered to pay out $5 Million Dollars)?

If we don't believe in free expression for people we despise, does this mean we don’t believe in it at all?

Do we have a responsibility to use the freedom of speech in a responsible way?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Student groups plan second Pro-Choice Day - News

Student groups plan second Pro-Choice Day - News

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Outrageous! Smokers protected, LGBT people are not!

By: Jacob Barrett

During the course of what I do as Director of Development for Kentucky Equality Federation, I thought maybe we should build a coalition with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. Once I got to their page I looked a plaque that has the protected classes under Kentucky law (includes Kentucky Acts, Revised Statues, Administrative Relations, and Executive Orders).

Now you all know what the common ones are, but to my utter amazement smoking is a protected class in Kentucky. Smoking is clearly a choice. Being gay is not, but even if you believe it is, why is it not a protected class in Kentucky since something as trivial as smoking is?

In Kentucky, being LGBT makes you a second class citizen! We are not protected for we are, but on the up side, you’re protected if you smoke! This should make everyone realize just how far down the “food chain” LGBT people are in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

In Kentucky, the commonwealth will not protect you, and it is perfectly legal for your employer to fire you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity……so, if you’re LGBT and you’re gonna get fired, just say, “Hey wait! I’m a smoker! Wanna go have a cigarette with me?”

In Kentucky, we have a long, long, LONG way to go!

KRS 344.040 Discrimination by employers.

It is an unlawful practice for an employer:

(1) To fail or refuse to hire, or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against an individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of the individual's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age forty (40) and over, because the person is a qualified individual with a disability, or because the individual is a smoker or nonsmoker, as long as the person complies with any workplace policy concerning smoking;

(2) To limit, segregate, or classify employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive an individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect status as an employee, because of the individual's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or age forty (40) and over, because the person is a qualified individual with a disability, or because the individual is a smoker or nonsmoker, as long as the person complies with any workplace policy concerning smoking; or

(3) To require as a condition of employment that any employee or applicant for employment abstain from smoking or using tobacco products outside the course of employment, as long as the person complies with any workplace policy concerning smoking.

LGTBI rights in the World (great work)

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), of which Kentucky Equality Federation is a paying, voting member, have just released the 2008 LGBTI Rights in the World Report.

  • 7 countries continue to executed homosexuals

  • 76 countries imprison them for life.

Click here to view a full sized map.

This map is shocking!

ILGA NOTES ABOUT THE UNITED STATES: The federal government of the United States is the centralized United States governmental body established by the Constitution (called Federal Government, or Federal State). In addition, the powers of the federal government as a whole are limited by the Constitution, which leaves a great deal of authority to the individual sovereign states. According to the United States Supreme Court, the authority of the federal government is restricted to the items in the U.S. Constitution; the authority of the several sovereign states is however, limitless.

The state governments have the greatest influence over most Americans' daily lives. Each state has its own written constitution, government, and code of laws. There are sometimes great differences in law and procedure between individual states, concerning issues such as property, crime, health, and education.

The several states and the federal state share sovereignty, in that an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of their state of domicile.

Territories of the United States are not considered states, and lack the authority of states. This includes American Samoa, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Federated States of Micronesia, Territory of Guam, Midway Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Middlesboro newspaper shamed into making a statement on the KKK rally

By: James-Clifton Spires, Kentucky Equality Federation's Political Advisor

The Middlesboro Daily News was finally shamed into making a statement about the Ku Klux Klan coming to Pineville. Note that they don't say how they were first made aware of the rally, just that it was a "reliable source." If it was so reliable, why not share some details about where it came from. So far, all they've indicated is that they found it on an Internet web site, which could be created by just about anyone. One of the first rules they teach in colleges these days is to not trust something just because you saw it on the Internet.

They take a dig at "The Diary of Anne Frank," and its sponsor, Middlesboro Little Theater, saying that very little information has been released about it --- they never heard of going out and digging for information, apparently. They knew when the audition dates were --- why didn't they send a reporter off to make a phone call to a member of the organization or something? Typical lazy Daily News, expecting to have the public write their news for them in the form of press releases (which the editor recycles and labels "Special to the Daily News") and not actually digging for stories about uplifting community events.

They also make fun of people who oppose racism and other KKK-oriented bigotry as "trying to become martyrs for the cause of their choice." I'm sure these people did not have "becoming martyrs" on thier minds:

  • Four little African-American girls were killed in a KKK-sponsored church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, back in the 1960s

  • Emmitt Till, and other persons of various skin colors who were lynched by KKK mobs in the 1950s.

  • Three young civil rights workers who were murdered by the KKK and buried in an earthen dam in Mississippi during the same era.

Victims of hate crimes are victims, not people trying to be martyrs. People who commit murder or encourage people to commit murder --- as the KKK is on record as doing --- are murderers. Newspapers who are aware of such evil activities should react with outrage immediately, and not wait until they are forced to do so by an onslaught of public opinion.

They also claim to believe in the cause of the First Amendment --- with that cause also comes the responsibility of knowing what to publicize. Why do they not give Martin Luther King Day activities the kind of publicity that the Daily News gave the KKK rally --- or why not publish an article (for the first time) on the activities of Mount Moriah Church --- a predominately black congregation in Bell County?

The argument that the Middlesboro Daily News is dedicated to upright causes like opposing bigotry is lessened by their actions and their Marisa-Come-Lately editorial stance.

I urge everyone receiving this to write to Middlesboro Daily News editor Marisa Anders at and express opposition to the presence of the KKK in Bell County and any part of Kentucky and also disappointment with The Middlesboro Daily News' efforts at publicizing this organization's horrible activities and at their wishy-washy editorial stance that focuses on petty issues and not on the fact that hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan are dangerous menaces to society.

Kentucky Equality Federation strongly criticized the newspapers’ handling of this story (more).

Taken from the Middlesboro Daily News

KKK rally unwelcome but still news

Since running the article on the KKK’s planned rally in the area, the Daily News has been inundated with comments — good and bad. The plans for the rally were brought to our attention by a reliable source, and we immediately thought the community should be aware of the event.

We wish we could only print good news. In an ideal world, the newspaper would be full of photos of children’s sports events, business openings, award ceremonies and other wonderful recognitions.

However, our obligation as professional journalists includes the job of bringing all the news to our readers. There are days when only murder, assaults, drugs and assorted arrests are the major news. Unfortunately, that is the reality of the world we live in.

When we were first made aware of the planned rally, no one knew why the group picked Bell County. We still don’t know.

There has been speculation that the Middlesboro Little Theatre’s production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” is the reason for the group’s choice of this area for its gathering. The production is scheduled for the weekend after the planned rally. Very little publicity has been released as of yet concerning the production; as of today, all we have received and published was an announcement of auditions dates which ran in early February. We sincerely doubt that KKK members from miles away would choose to rally the weekend before an event that most of Bell County was not even aware of yet.

Our opinion is that there isn’t a “legitimate” reason for the KKK rally, despite the best
efforts of a few individuals to become martyrs for the cause of their choice — racism, bigotry, etc. There are no legitimate reasons for hatred of any group, whether based on color, gender, sexual orientation, or any other reason.

Hate groups such as the KKK are not welcome in Bell County, but the Daily News will continue to publish their plans as we uncover them in order to best inform our community of any potential peril for our readers.

We will also continue to publish comments on our website, both for and against the rally. However, we will not publish comments that spam our system. Numerous comments from one individual using different names will not be published. Comments intended to slander individuals will not be published. Comments that address the issue on any story are welcome.

We believe in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

We hope that if the KKK follows through with its plans, the assembly will be peaceful. We trust that our local law enforcement officials will do their best to ensure the community’s

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

KKK Rally this month in Southern Kentucky

As many of you know, the KKK is scheduled to have an "Aryan Bash" in Pineville, Kentucky --- one weekend before the opening of Middlesboro Little Theatre's production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" at the Bell Theatre in Pineville. According to an article written by Andrea Schneider, a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News, the Appalachian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and several associated groups plan to rally this month.

Who would have imagined that this type of hate would still be around? I doubt even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. thought it would go into the next century. LGBT icon Coretta Scott King, his widow continued the fight for universal equality long after her husbands death.

This type of rally and the attention it draws serves no other purpose than to re-segregate our communities; deny them an audience!

For anyone who is interested in doing something positive, here is a suggestion: The Middlesboro Little Theater raises money each year for college scholarships for high school seniors who have participated in community theater during their high school years. These scholarships range from $500 to $1,000, depending upon how much is raised.

UPDATE: We did not post the dates because the best possible thing that could happen is that they be totally ignored by the public. The Anti-Defamation League has posted several dates in Kentucky, but the one in Southern Kentucky is the only event that has received media attention.