Wednesday, December 02, 2009

United We Stand - Kentucky's LGBTI News

This site is no longer updated. Please visit the all new United We Stand - Kentucky's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender News at:

Our archives remain stored on this site.

Monday, November 09, 2009

U.S. House moves to extend health benefits to gay couples

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a health care reform bill Saturday that recognizes gay unions and makes health care more affordable for gay families.

Titled The Affordable Health Care for America Act, it extends Medicaid to subsidize moderate-income people who otherwise could not afford quality health insurance. Also tucked inside the bill is U.S. Representative Jim McDermott's (D-Washington) Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act of 2009 introduced in May.

The bill alters the tax status of health benefits granted to the spouses of gay employees (for states that have gay marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships). Under the bill, such benefits would no longer be considered taxable income for employees.

A report released in 2007 by M. V. Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute, found that gay employees with partners pay, on average, $1,069 per year more in taxes than would a married employee with the same coverage.

"Collectively, unmarried couples lose $178 million per year to additional taxes," the report says. “U.S. employers also pay a total of $57 million per year in additional payroll taxes because of this unequal tax treatment."

Fifty-nine percent of Fortune 500 companies offer partner benefits, up from 40% in 2003, a 2009 Human Rights Campaign report says.

The legislation now moves to the Senate, where its future remains uncertain.

Kentucky's Mitch McConnell (R) a senior Senator and the U.S. Senate Minority Leader will like vote against it, or worse still, attempt to stop the bill in the U.S. Senate.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

House of Representatives Candidate Matthew Vanderpool talks about his campaign against conservative incumbent Stan Lee

Education is key to electing politicians. As an effort to educate everyone* about the importance of voting, not only in U.S. Presidential elections, but your elected lawmakers in Frankfort, United We Stand will be conducting interviews with conservative and progressive candidates so you know exactly who you are voting for will stand up for YOU. 

* Not only the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex population. 

Lawmakers in Frankfort determine funding, criminal codes, road and bridge projects, medical assistance, low-income assistance, parental rights, and thousands of other items.

To begin the series of interviews, Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer recommended that I begin with Mr. Matthew Vanderpool (D-Lexington), who is one of the candidates running against Representative Stan Lee (R-Lexington).

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Voters in the State of Maine repeal Marriage Equality - Washington's Referendum - 71 Update

With the defeat in the State of Maine, our interview with Mr. Vanderpool is being delayed until tomorrow.

Equality Maine has yet to issue any official press release, but the Associated Press has quoted several other organization, mainly the ones who repealed the law.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Finally, Rep. Stan Lee (R-Lexington), a nightmare to Kentucky's gay population, will be opposed!

Finally, one of the biggest nightmares to Kentucky's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community, Representative Stan Lee (R-Lexington) (pictured) has competition in the upcoming 2010 election.  Lee is not only a nightmare to the LGBTI community, but everyone who wants to move Kentucky forward and stands for equality, justice, and progress.   

The election is closer than you think considering the primary is in May 2010.  Representative Lee has run unopposed in the last several elections.  

Representative Lee has made a name for himself in the gay community for attempting to ban domestic-partner benefits at the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and all other Kentucky schools.  

Representative Lee, and one of his key allies, Representative Joseph Fischer (R) from Northern Kentucky have also tried to remove the ability of Kentucky cities to add people as a protected class.  Currently, Covington, Lexington, and Louisville have city ordinances which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Citizens in Maine and Washington will vote to repeal gay marriage or domestic partnership laws in defiance of their lawmakers and Governor

Citizens in two states decide whether or not to keep gay marriage, or institutions similar to them.  

In Maine voters will decide to override the Maine House of Representatives, Senate, and even the Governor to repeal their new "same-sex marriage law," or more appropriately chartered,  Maine's Marriage Equality Act.

In Washington citizens are also fighting the states expanded domestic partnership bill.  The expanded law adds benefits including the right to use sick leave to care for a domestic partner, and rights related to adoption, child custody and child support.

I am not sure I like the system of government in these two states; gay rights groups fought long and hard for these new laws, and after years of getting them passed in the legislature, signed into law by the sitting Governor, it could all be reversed!   

Religious groups in both states have spent millions and millions of dollars attempting to reverse these laws.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kentucky Human Rights Commission 2009 Annual Report released

The Commonwealth News Center, the official media center for the Kentucky Government reports that the Kentucky Human Rights Commission annual report was released yesterday:

As has been the case for all of its 49 years, the commission received the most discrimination complaints based on the protected classes of race and color. One-hundred-twenty-five people listed race and color as the reason they were victimized by discriminators. This was still lower than last year’s 158 race and color complaints.

The commission received 322 new cases this year out of which the majority of 82 contained allegations of discrimination based on race and color in employment.

Employment was the number one area in all new cases, with 228 people alleging they suffered discrimination in the workplace. The commission also received 47 complaints in the area of Housing and 47 in the area of Public Accommodations.

Other than race and color, complainants alleged illegal discrimination based on the protected classes of religion, national origin, sex, age (over 40), disability, familial status, and tobacco-smoking status. The last mentioned class is unique to Kentucky, and only one person alleged discrimination in the workplace because of being a smoker.

Yap, that's right; you cannot be fired for being a smoker.... but you can be fired for your sexual orientation or gender identity. The wonderful people at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights asked the Kentucky House and Senate to add sexual orientation and gender identity, but of course the Kentucky Senate will not allow anything remotely attached to the word "homosexual" pass into law. (see previous story about the Kentucky Senate)

Kentucky law:

A private employer may not refuse to hire, discharge, or discriminate against an individual because the individual is a smoker or nonsmoker, as long as the person complies with workplace policy concerning smoking. A private employer may not limit, segregate, or classify employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive an individual of employment opportunities because the individual is a smoker or nonsmoker, as long as the person complies with workplace policy concerning smoking. Additionally, a private employer may not 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 workplace policy concerning smoking.

Unbelievable. So I guess if I am fired for being gay, I'll just claim it was because I am smoker? But then, I would have to start smoking.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Obama has been busy, but will sign the symbolic Matthew Shepard Act

By: Tony Begley

I admit that along with the rest of the gay community, the contributors here at United We Stand have been tough on U.S. President Obama.

U.S. State Department Secretary Hillary Clinton has done more for LGBTI people since assuming office for the U.S. Department of State... all it takes is her signature and it becomes policy. (previous story# 1), and (previous story # 2)

But, Obama has been extremely busy:

According to the New York Post (source), and CBS’ Mark Knoller: "President Barack Obama has only been in office for just over nine months, but he’s already hit the links as much as President Bush did in over two years. On October 26, 2009 – "Obama ties Pres. Bush in the number of rounds of golf played in office: 24. It took Bush 2 yrs & 10 months.”

One cannot help but wonder if the super popular gay blogger, author, and real estate guru Andrew Sullivan's summary of Obama is correct. (previous story # 1), and (previous story # 2)

Let us not forget that the Obama administration decided to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) after being sued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, even as Obama has stated publicly he plans to seek repeal in Congress. (previous story)

President Obama is scheduled to sign Wednesday what is being described as the nation's first significant pro-gay rights legislation. Attached to the defense authorization act, the measure would add sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability to the list of protected classes under the 1969 federal hate-crimes law. But it isn't because he has lobbied for it.

Kentucky has a hate crimes law, and the U.S. Department of Justice has no jurisdiction unless state lines are crossed, and since all states and the U.S. Government (itself a state) are all sovereign, neither enforce the others laws.

The Washington Post reports:

A state can ask the U.S. Justice Department to step in if it lacks a hate-crimes law but feels such charges are warranted (18 states do not have a law addressing hate crimes based on sexual orientation).

The law doesn't outlaw bigotry or "thought crimes." It applies only to "violent acts motivated by" the characteristics of the victim -- acts, not thoughts or speech. But crimes that target someone because of race or sexual orientation are more than offenses against that individual. They can terrorize whole communities.

While this is an advance, more important legislation awaits: banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, ending the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, and allowing same-sex marriage. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) must make it a priority to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and the Defense of Marriage Act. President Obama has repeatedly said he'd sign those bills into law.

It's time for Congress to follow through.

It is a disgrace that it has taken Congress
11 years after University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was tortured and left to die on a fence post outside Laramie, Wyoming to act, even though this legislation is more symbolic than anything (unless state lines are crossed) it is still a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Equality in Kentucky is getting closer; the truth about the Kentucky Senate

Want to know why Kentucky doesn't have a statewide law banning discrimination against gay and lesbian people (the entire community, LGBTI) in employment, housing, credit, and accommodations? The answer is simple, Republicans in the Kentucky Senate always defeat the measure, most of the time without the legislation making it out of committee. (previous story)

However, equality and fairness may be closer than you think.

Long time anti-gay Senate President David Williams is slowly, but surely losing control of the Kentucky Senate. Why? Governor Steve Beshear keeps appointing them to executive positions within his cabinet, and under his control. One by one, Republicans are leaving the Kentucky Senate for higher paying jobs in the Executive Branch of Kentucky's Government, or the Judicial Branch.

Kentucky Democrats gained another chance Monday to increase their numbers in the GOP-led state Senate when Gov. Steve Beshear opened up a seat by appointing a longtime Republican senator to serve as a judge.

Beshear, a Democrat, appointed Sen. Dan Kelly to be circuit judge in Kentucky's 11th Judicial Circuit, which represents four counties southeast of Louisville. Republicans held a 20-17-1 lead - including one independent who tends to side with the GOP - in the state Senate before Kelly's departure.

"I made the decision based on his qualifications," Beshear said.

Senate President David Williams, a Burkesville Republican, had predicted that Beshear would appoint Kelly to the judicial vacancy. Williams said at the time Beshear was "poisoning" the state's political atmosphere by dangling jobs to lure Republicans out of the Senate.

Governor Beshear has helped Kentucky's LGBTI community, but he cannot do more (and neither can Senator Stein, Representative Tom Burch, and others until the Senate changes leadership). (previous story)

In Kentucky, you cannot be fired for being a smoker, but you can be fired for being THAT is cheating (what the Family Foundation of Kentucky called Kentucky Equality Federation’s coordination of the 2009 National Freedom to Marry Day in Kentucky). I'm sure the Family Foundation of Kentucky is biting their nails off since they are close to most Republicans in the Kentucky Senate, and almost always testify at Senate Committee hearings.

Look the the following statements below from your Kentucky elected lawmakers (source 1, source 2):
Homosexuality is aberrant behavior. - Senate President David Williams (R) (January 2008) (story, and argument with Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer)

It's OK to fire someone if they're gay. Historically, homosexuals haven't suffered. - Representative Joseph Fischer (R) (October 2006) (story 1, Kentucky Equality Federation leads protest against Statehouse Rep. Joe Fisher during election debate), and (story 2, Kentucky Equality Federation and Kentucky Fairness Alliance slam a Kentucky Representative)

The University of the Cumberlands stands for what is positive [by expelling a gay student]. - Senate President David Williams (R) (August 2006)

I don't want to entice any of those people [queers] into our state. Those are the wrong kind of people. – Senator Dick Roeding (R) (July 2006)

The Log Cabin Republican Club of Kentucky, a gay GOP group, "are nothing but a bunch of queers." - Senator Dick Roeding (R) (July 2006)

I wouldn't think that there would be a lot of support in the General Assembly for giving benefits to people that were involved in same-sex relationships. Doing so would be bad public policy. - Senate President David Williams (R) (July 2006)

I am committed to protecting traditional marriage. I proudly supported the Same-Sex Marriage Amendment proposal in Kentucky in 2004 and was pleased to see it pass with 74% of the vote. - U.S. Representative Geoff Davis (R) [part of Kentucky's Congressional delegation] (July 2006)

Since 2006, Kentucky Equality Federation, Kentucky Fairness Alliance, and the Louisville Fairness Campaign have trained people to lobby their elected officials in Frankfort for complete LGBTI equality; they have a rally in the Capitol Rotunda yearly in support of this.* (source)

Since pro-gay legislation always passes the Kentucky House of Representatives (the Democratic Party has a huge lead in the Kentucky House), will the same happen if Democrats re-take the Kentucky Senate?

Complete equality and fairness for our community could be closer than anyone thinks.

Support Kentucky's LGBTI organizations that lobby and fight for your rights!

* Special Note: The Lexington Chapter is Kentucky Fairness Alliance separated from the organization at some point in 2007 and is now called Lexington Fairness. Lexington Fairness also participated in the 2007 and 2009 lobbying and rallies.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mountain Shopper in Southern Kentucky posts anti-gay article: The Fall of UK because of "homosexuals"

The Mountain Shopper, "The Leader for Buying, Selling and Trading; Community News, and Special Events" has been identified as the paper that published an anti-gay article, effectively blaming gay and lesbian people (or homosexuals as the articles refers to our community) as the reason the University of Kentucky has fallen in national rankings of the top schools.

The article sites many religious references as the reason for the "fall" of the University of Kentucky (UK).

Click here to view the article.

Earlier this month, the article drew criticism from Kentucky Equality Federation and Louisville's Fairness Campaign, especially for the articles religious references.

Kentucky Equality Federation reports that no one from the paper will return telephone calls, or respond to emails.

Do you have something you'd like to say to them?

Phone: (606) 495-1528

Please be sure to read the article first.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Online site refuses gay/lesbian screenplays.

An online site, "Write Like the Pros" lists homosexual screenplays as something they will not accept, and likens it to pornography, and "darkly sinister evil."

The site sells CD's, DVD's, and offers writing tips in addition to them reading your screenplay. They assist in character development, narration, and dialogue.

According to their site:

Submissions should follow normal script structure, using Microsoft Word (no Word Perfect) formatted in Palatino, Times, or Georgia text, black print, sentence case. Work must be e-mailed with the full name, address, and e-mail address of the author. SEND TO

However, they also list the following:

We will not accept, read, or report on any writing that involves pornographic material,
lesbian-homosexual relationships, darkly sinsiter evil, horror, illicit sexual, or vulgar language manuscripts. If there is any question in your mind about your manuscript fitting into one of these categories, please do not send it to us. (source)

Wow. Our relationships are placed in the same category as pornography, darkly sinister evil (they misspelled the word sinister on their site), horror, illicit sexual, and so on.

Constitutionally, they may refuse anything they want, but this is ridiculous. They have closed themselves to a major market and shown their own homophobia.

We received this tip from a straight ally, who stated:

I am not reporting a personal discrimination. I am not actually gay myself - I have a wife. But I am a screenwriter. And I came across a group on the internet (you can view this webpage at: who will not have anything to do with screenplays containing gay relationships if you read the very bottom of this webpage). They seem to give a lot do's and don't in terms of the rules of writing screenplays, but to include that they won't accept screenplays containing gay relationships is absolutely unacceptable in my opinion.

Thanks for the tip, and more importantly, thank you for being open minded and supporting LGBT people!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Are you in favor of amending the Constitution to remove language requiring that separate schools for "white" and "colored" children be maintained?

Did you just suffer from a time warp? Would it surprise you to learn that Kentucky citizens voted on that again in 1996?

Political elites were stunned when a third of those voting, and majorities in five counties, rejected the change.
Poll result in McLean County, KY (they voted in favor of it)

The upcoming 2010 Kentucky Legislative Session gets closer everyday, and this is going to be a LONG session, so be prepared for anti-gay legislation to be filed, and be prepared to fight it. We've had so many hard fought battles over the past several years.

In 2006, conservative Senators in Kentucky filed legislation to "rein in the Kentucky Court of Justice" by limiting judicial review of legislative acts; conservatives wanted to limit the authority of Kentucky Courts in ruling something "unconstitutional." Senate Bill 236 (sponsored by 9 Senators) and stated:

- The judicial department shall not engage in judicial activism through court orders or the issuance of opinions which are intended to advance policy positions, the determinations on which properly belong to the other departments of government.

The judicial department shall not declare any act of the General Assembly unconstitutional or void on the basis of the amount of funds provided for a particular program;

The judicial department shall not construe any provision of this Constitution to permit a local government to grant civil rights entitlements to a class of persons unless authorized by the General Assembly; but courts shall recognize that if the General Assembly authorizes a local government to grant such entitlements to a class of persons based on other than race, color, religion, disability, familial status or national origin, birth, gender, or age, it shall only do so by enacting legislation which specifically identifies the allowable class of persons and entitlements which may be created and conferred.

The judicial department shall not allow a challenge to the constitutionality, validity, or application of any act of the General Assembly. (source)

When you consider the Kentucky 2004 Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, the proposed laws and Constitutional Amendments listed above, is it any wonder why we turn to the Judiciary to protect us (the Kentucky Court of Justice, headed by the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court, with subordinate courts such as Drug Court, District Court, Family Court, Circuit Court, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals)?

Obviously, the majority cannot always be trusted to make responsible, moral decisions which is why Kentucky has three (3) Government Branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.

Millions of soldiers have died (and continue to die everyday) to protect the "idea" that is this Republic; however, so long as conservatives walk all over the Constitution and deny all of her citizens equality, those solders have died defending a dream, not a reality. But they also died defending our right to demand and fight for equality; allow this entry to be a thank you for their sacrifice and bravery.

Special thanks to the students at Eastern Kentucky University and the Univeristy of Kentucky for contributing to this post.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Andrew Sullivan calls for the resignation of HRC President Joe Solmonese

Andrew Sullivan, one of the most influential and popular gay authors, blogger, and reporter is calling for the resignation of the President of the nations self proclaimed 'largest' gay rights organization, HRC President Joe Solmonese.

Solmonese, who draws a salary of nearly $500,000.00 per year has yet to comment.

Who is Andrew Sullivan? Andrew Sullivan wrote his blog for a year at Time Magazine, shifting in 2007 to The Atlantic, where it received approximately 40 million page views in the first year. He is the former editor of The New Republic and the author of five books.

NOTE: HRC has been accused of overstating the number of actual members in order to appear more influential in politics. (source 1), (source 2). HRC refuses to release the count of current, dues-paying members. (source3)

Andrew Sullivan stated:

Joe Solmonese's disgraceful email actually took all pressure off him [the Obama Administration] by saying he'd be happy to wait till 2017 for HRC to hold Obama accountable. HRC are putting pressure, as they always have, on gay people to go to the back of the line and be grateful a president attends their fundraising event. The only word for this is a racket. And if gay people do not rise up and demand change from this organization and stop funding a group whose goal has always been to sell the Democrats to gay people rather than secure civil rights, then they will continue to suffer the discrimination they live under day after day.

Click here to read the entire article on "The Daily Dish," one of the highest rated LGBTI blogs on the internet.

Sullivan continues:

All I can say is: the president gave a speech he could have given at any point in the last three years. No one in that room could disagree with any of the things he said. I sure don't (with the exception of the hate crimes hooey). And he said it well and movingly. Like we didn't know he could do that.

But the point of electing a president who pledged to actually do things is to hold him to account, and to see if he is willing to take any risk of any kind to actually do something. I had a few prior tests of his seriousness or signs that he gets it, a few ways to judge if this speech had anything new or specific or clear. He failed every test.

To wit:

He says he will end Don't Ask Don't Tell but he has done nothing, and he offered no time-line, no deadline HRC for action and no verifiable record that he has done anything, despite his claims that he has.

He says he is ending the HIV ban, but it is still in force, a year and a half after it was signed by George W. Bush and passed by massive majorities in both houses.

He says he favors equality for gay couples but said nothing tonight to support the initiatives in Maine or in Washngton State or the struggle in Washington DC for marriage equality. That's a test of real sincerity on this matter. He failed it.

He says he wants to end discrimination in employment even as he is firing more gay people solely for being gay than any other employer in the country - as commander-in-chief. And if an employer is firing gay people all the time, is it tolerable to accept as a response that he will stop doing it one day - but gives no time-line at all to hold him to?

Look: I didn't expect these issues to be front and center given his appalling inheritance; I know he has many other things on his plate; I didn't expect the moon; I didn't believe he would do any of this immediately; I understand that the real job is for us to do, not him, and that most of the action is in the states. And I remain a strong supporter of him in foreign policy and in the way he is clearly trying to move this country past the ideological divides of the recent past.

But the sad truth is: he is refusing to take any responsibility for his clear refusal to fulfill clear campaign pledges on the core matter of civil rights and has given no substantive, verifiable pledges or deadlines by which he can be held accountable. What that means, I'm afraid, is that this speech was highfalutin bullshit. There were no meaningful commitments within a time certain, not even a commitment to fulfilling them in his first term; just meaningless, feel-good commitments that we have no way of holding him to. Once the dust settles, ask yourself. What did he promise to achieve in the next year? Or two years? Or four years? The answer is: nothing.

Do you agree or disagree? Comments?

Kentucky Equality Federation, Marriage Equality Kentucky, and Kentucky Equality PAC refused to comment on this blog entry stating they had "no official position." The United We Stand blog however maintains editorial independence even though we are the 'endorsed' blog of these organizations. - Julie Fite

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Louisville's Fairness Campaign wants to boycott Woody's Tavern, but Woody's may not be legally operating in Kentucky

After David P. Norton apologized in August for racist and sexist comments made about a year ago, Louisville's Fairness Campaign, a champion for LGBTI civil rights in Jefferson County, is again boycotting the bar owned by David Norton.

David Norton, owner of Woody’s Tavern, went public in August to apologize for comments made a year ago to University of Louisville students and a professor, saying “What came out of my mouth was pure filth.” Now, the Fairness Campaign is pushing for a boycott of his bar, Woody’s Tavern, because of more racist comments he allegedly made there last month.

Checkout their inactive Myspace profile, and the graphics on it. (more)

We conducted a search for Woody's Tavern with the Corporation's Division of the Kentucky Department of State and found no business in the Commonwealth currently or previously incorporated under the name "Woody's Tavern," nor it is listed as an assumed named of any business authorized to transact business in Kentucky, a violation of Kentucky law.

According to Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control, David P. Norton holds the alcohol license for Woody's Tavern, and is doing business as "Woody's Tavern," even though he is not registered (and therefore, not authorized) to transact business in Kentucky.

David P. Norton leases Woody's Tavern (the actual site), and even if he is incorporated in Indiana or any other state, he is still in violation of Kentucky law and not authorized to transact business in Kentucky because he has failed to register as a foreign corporation with the Kentucky Secretary of State.

You can get into serious trouble for doing business in Kentucky and not being registered, and thus, authorized. (see Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals No. 2005-CA-000196-MR)

When not authorized to transact business in Kentucky, or if the Secretary of State revokes your authority to do business in Kentucky, you are personally liable for your actions; there is no "corporate veil" to protect you (a corporation is treated as a separate legal person, which is solely responsible for the debts it incurs and the sole beneficiary of the credit it is owed).

From the Kentucky Department of State:

Who must file an Annual Report?
Each domestic and foreign corporation, domestic and foreign limited liability company, domestic and foreign partnership, and domestic and foreign business trust must file an Annual Report.

Why must I file an Annual Report?
To assist the Secretary of State in providing the most accurate information to the public, corporations and companies conducting business in the Commonwealth of Kentucky are required by law to file annual reports with the Secretary of State. Failure to file an Annual Report by June 30 will result in a status of bad standing. Failure to file the report by Oct. 31st will result in administrative dissolution or revocation of authority.

Also, the Kentucky Attorney General's Office may pursue and fine companies doing business in the Commonwealth who are not properly registered, or their certificate of authority from the Kentucky Secretary of State's Office has been revoked.

Regardless, if the owner is making sexual and/or racial slurs, as a community we should stand united and boycott it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Russia raises the stakes against gay and lesbian people at the United Nations with a new resolution

Urge the United Nations to decriminalization homosexuality worldwide; oppose the Russian Federation's "Traditional Values Resolution."

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On September 15, 2009, the United Nations elected a new President of the General Assembly. They elected Ali Abdussalam Treki, the former Foreign Minister of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Libya). His election to office jeopardizes the decriminalization of homosexuality worldwide by United Nations law.

Today, the situation escalated after the Russian Federation proposed a resolution calling for "Traditional Values."

"Traditional Values" are frequently invoked to justify human rights violations.

If this resolution is passed, we have no doubt that suppressive states around the world will use "traditional values" to restrict human rights, and the recognition of LGBTI people.

In previous decades and centuries, mixed-race marriages, desegregation, women having the right to work, to vote, or to own property would have been thought by many to be inconsistent with "traditional values".

This is our government! We must stand-up for LGBTI people abroad; show them that LGBTI American's care about their safety!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Decriminalization of Homosexuality in danger at the United Nations; new General Assembly President says Muslim faith makes it illegal

Ali Abdussalam Treki, the former Foreign Minister of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Libya) assumed office as president of the United Nations General Assembly on September 15, 2009.

One of the first official statements of his office is outrageous and is being condemned by the International Lesbian & Gay Association ("ILGA") who is an advisory member at the United Nations.

It is truly said that the Organization of American States, whose concept predates the United Nations, passed resolutions recognizing LGBTI people last year. (previous story).

Even worse, the head of the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (who replaced the longest serving head of the organization, Kofi Annan, who retired after serving 10 years) has made no official statement about General Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki's statement.

ILGA Statement:

ILGA is deeply worried and outraged by UN Assembly new President Ali Abdussalam Treki's failure to consider the protection of the life and safety of lesbians, gay men, trans, intersex and bisexual people all over the world a matter of human rights.

In an interview prior to his first address to the UN Assembly in his new role, Mr. Treki declared himself to be "not in favor at all" with reference to the Statement in favor of the decriminalization of homosexuality signed by 66 Countries and read by the Argentinian representative last December at the General Assembly in New York.

Furthermore, Mr. Treki said that the matter referred to by the Statement, i.e. decriminalization, was "not acceptable in the majority of the world" and that "there are some countries that allow that (sic), thinking it is a kind of democracy".

Considering that the Statement called for the Universal Decriminalization of Homosexuality, one cannot but conclude that the new President of the UN Assembly is... in favor of criminalizing lesbians and gay men, bisexual, trans and intersex people. The worrying and serious implications of this attitude, coming from the new head of an institution which is supposed to regard human rights – all human rights – as the most sacred value, cannot be overstated.

We appeal to the representatives of the States which signed the Statement against criminalization of homosexuality, but also voted for the election of Mr. Treki in his new position, to demand an explanation to the UN Assembly President for his words and react consequently.

Gloria Careaga & Renato Sabbadini
Co-Secretaries General, ILGA

Kentucky Equality Federation, an ILGA member added:
Electing a President of the General Assembly is a serious matter; Mr. Treki's statement about homosexuality is outrageous: "It is not acceptable in the majority of the world. And there are some countries that allow that, thinking it is a kind of democracy … I think it is not." He defended his stance by citing his Muslim faith and heritage.

"This is scary for our LGBTI family abroad; people who live in fear of being executed [and hundreds are daily] for being gay saw light at the end of the tunnel with the United Nations Statement; now, that light has been extinguished," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. As president of the United Nations General Assembly, he was elected to office to represent all the people of the Earth, and not his Muslim faith; clearly, he has no understanding of the office he was elected and we echo ILGA's call to action. Kentucky Equality Federation will post an action alert within the next 24 hours so people can contact U.S. State Department Secretary Hilary Clinton to do as ILGA has request."

If the new President of the United Nations General Assembly thinks homosexuality is sick, and even added that "there are some countries that allow that, thinking it is a kind of democracy … I think it is not," he has effectively alienated himself from some powerful United Nations member states such as:
Argentine Republic, Federative Republic of Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Commonwealth of Australia, Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Commonwealth of Dominica, Federal Republic of Germany, Kingdom of Belgium, Kingdom of Denmark (which also includes Greenland), Kingdom of Norway, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Kingdom of Spain, Kingdom of Sweden, New Zealand, Oriental Republic of Uruguay, Portuguese Republic, Republic of Finland, Republic of Hungary, Republic of Iceland, Republic of South Africa, State of Israel, Swiss Confederation, United Kingdom, United Mexican States, and the United States of America.

Not accepted by the majority of the world? How does he count? Sure, you have some large countries that oppose it such as the Russian Federation, and most Muslim countries make homosexuality criminal (most of the time punishable by death); but that is NOT the "majority of the world."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The repeal of DoMA is dying because it isn't the 'right time.' When is the 'right time'?

Support for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act is wavering in the U.S. House of Representatives since it was introduced by U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) last Tuesday (previous story).

Even openly gay U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) opposes it, though the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has sued the U.S. Government over it. (previous story).

Why does openly gay U.S. Representative Barney Frank oppose repealing DoMA, and the military's 'Don't Ask Don't Tell?' It's simple, votes and popular opinion!
The bill filed by U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) would only required the U.S. Government to recognize gay marriage if they are legal in their home state.

So what's the problem? Didn't these people get elected to office to lead instead of worry about votes? If a political figure worries about losing a few votes to do something that is right, they don't belong in office anyway; they haven't even considered the new number of votes they would pickup by actually doing what is morally right.

Governor Beshear certainly didn't worry about votes from the right-wing when he reissued the executive order protecting LGBTI people again in Kentucky Government (previous story). That was true leadership!

So what do we have now? People in offices (save Governor Beshear) who will only act when they feel the 'time is right.' And since
openly gay U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) has now stated publicly that people should not support the measure in the U.S. House until after the next election, he tipped his hand; they will not vote for him anyway if the oppose gay marriage and LGBTI equality.

Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? Expediency asks the question - is it political? But conscience asks the question - is it right? There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, popular, or political; but because it is right.

How long must we continue to fight for what we are legally entitled to?

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. The assertion that "all men are created equal" was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain and it was placed in the Declaration not for that, but for future use. Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable - a most sacred right - a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. - Abraham Lincoln

Just like the critics who do not like Marriage Equality Kentucky and Kentucky Equality Federation's joint venture on the Kentucky Marriage Declaration,
I must ask again, when is the right time to demand your civil liberties?

We must remember that a government that is big enough to give you all you want is also big enough to take it all away. Government must constantly be placed in-check by her citizens. The first freedom denied by a government to one of its citizens chains us all, and paves the road to begin deconstruction of another liberty, another freedom. - Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer

It looks like our political leaders have allowed themselves to become 'slaves' to polls; is this what we elected them for?

Perhaps if they have us a year that they would agree to it and vote it into law, we could all just wait.... but when would that be, 2015, 2020, 2050?
How about yesterday!

Article By: Michael J. Thomas
September 22, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

U.S. House Speaker Pelosi likens healthcare protests to anti-gay rhetoric

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said Thursday that she worries that the protests over President Obama's healthcare legislation may resemble the anti-gay rhetoric of the late 1970s.

In 1978, Harvey Milk, the first openly gay member of the city's board of supervisors, and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone where assassinated.

"I have concerns about some of the language that is being used, because I saw this myself in the late '70s in San Francisco. This kind of rhetoric was very frightening, and it created a climate in which violence took place."

Pelosi said she does not think the debate has crossed into dangerous territory but warned that sometimes the "ears that it is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statement."

The Republican Party strongly disapproved of her statement. U.S. Representative Pete Sessions (R-Texas) who is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, rejected her statement.

"The speaker is now likening genuine opposition to assassination," he said. "Such insulting rhetoric not only undermines the credibility of her office, but it underscores the desperate attempt by her party to divert attention away from a failing agenda."

Protests have become more and more common, not only in opposition to U.S. President Obama and his health care plans, but in general with the passage or Prop 8 in California, and all the national tea parties
(the 'tea parties where largely organized by Senior Republican Party Members in opposition to big government, and U.S. President Obama).

The health care reform protests have even reach the Commonwealth; see video coverage from Hillbilly Report:

Trace Creek Baptist Church Health Care Informational Meeting Videos

Paducah, Kentucky, The Good Ol Boy Whiners, Lies, CNN Express And Health Care

Health Care Rally in Somerset, Kentucky. Photos And Videos

Walmart Health Care And Pension Plans For Members Of Congress

Howard Dean (former Governor of the State of Vermont, and former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee) Discusses Healthcare

Do you agree with U.S. House Speaker Pelosi?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bill to repeal DOMA to be filed in the U.S. House on Sept. 15th

Since the U.S. Government has been repeatedly attacked with multiple lawsuits (including, a prominent and founding Union member, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) over the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) will file a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal it.

The bill will be unveiled at a press event Tuesday. Openly gay legislators such as Wisconsin's U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin and Colorado's U.S. Representative Jared Polis are expected to attend.

Recently, U.S. President Obama's Department of Justice defended the law in a California lawsuit that aimed to overturn the statute. That suit has since been dismissed on a technicality.

Most believe the bill will never make it out of the U.S. House of Representatives, and that the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of Massachusetts has the best chance of striking down the law for infringing on the sovereignty of the Commonwealth and its exclusive right to define marriage, which the federal government must recognize (as it always has).

There is a great deal of division in the bill being filed on Tuesday because many feel the bill should simply recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples by the federal government if gay marriage is legal in their home state. Not only would this satisfy the Attorney General of Massachusetts, but it would also give couples access to federal benefits such as Social Security and federal pensions.

Most expect the bill to fail if the provision allowing states to ignore gay marriages performed outside their borders isn't left in tact.

In California today, other battles loomed as the Senate approved a bill late Wednesday that recognizes gay and lesbian marriages performed outside the state prior to November 5, 2008. The bill was passed in the California Assembly earlier in the month.

The social conservative group California Family Council (CFC), which supports the gay marriage ban, is urging California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto the measure, and has called the bill “unconstitutional.”

The people of California are sovereign, and the language of Proposition 8 is clear regarding the people's intent,” Ron Prentice, director of CFC, said in a statement. “However, California's current Legislature will continue to attempt to weaken the laws set forth by the people.”

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Roman Catholic Church to fund efforts in Maine to defeat gay marriage

In direct defiance of the teachings of the The New Testament (for those who are religious or spiritual) which never once condemns homosexuality, or says it is a sin, another church (this time it isn't the Mormon's, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), the Catholic Church in the State of Maine is stepping up its effort to defeat a gay marriage law in November.

The WBLZ News Center reports that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is asking its parishes to take a special second collection next weekend to help pay for a campaign to use a statewide referendum to reverse a gay marriage law passed by the state Legislature.

Money raised in the effort will go to Stand for Marriage Maine, which is leading the effort to repeal the law allowing same-sex marriage.

Stand for Marriage also is planning a rally next Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

I suppose this is no surprise.... the Roman Catholic Church has seen more lawsuits than any other religious institution; and recent statements from the Pope have drawn widespread criticism, even from former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair (who is now the United National Special Envoy to the Middle East (since 2007), as appointed by the United National Secretary-General).

Gay rights organizations have condemned the Pope's statements, and even singer Rob Thomas [Matchbox 20] came out swinging against the religious suppression of '
the way people are born.'

Although Catholic doctrine is that homosexuality is not a sin, the church does condemn homosexual acts and the former Joseph Alois Ratzinger [now known as Pope Benedict XVI] stated in 1986 before he became pope that homosexuality "
is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder."

According to Pope Benedict XVI, homosexuality will lead to the "self-destruction" of the human race.

Well, most of this garbage is why the LGBTI community feels alienated from Christianity. My name is Jordan Palmer; I am a practicing Christian and Taoist, and I personally wrote this blog entry. I have to wonder when religious leaders will stop twisting scripture (of whatever faith) to suit their own selfish needs...... but, if you look back on the history of Christianity, it has always been so.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

What does the new Senate mean for the Commonwealth's LGBTI population? Anything? Is it an indication of future?

With members of the Democratic Party gaining strength in the Kentucky Senate, what does this mean for Kentucky's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and interex population?

One must wonder if Senate President David L. Williams is feeling the squeeze despite what he recently said to the Courier-Journal: “
It won't make any difference.”

This is the new makeup of the Kentucky Senate:

Since the end of the previous Legislative Session, Republicans have lost two (2) seats to Democrats. The Kentucky Senate how has 20 Republicans, 17 Democrats, and 1 Independent.

Though Senate President David Williams is entitled to his views, they are outdated; could this be the reason for the political changes in the Senate? Are Kentuckians finally ready to pass a School Bullying Bill, or an Equality Bill so LGBTI people cannot be fired simply for being gay?

  • Let us not forget that President Williams defended the University of the Cumberlands in expelling Jason Johnson, for being gay.
  • Let us not forget that Senate President Williams has often sided with the Family Foundation of Kentucky, an anti-gay group; both have tried to stop Kentucky universities from offering domestic-partner benefits to same-sex couples (and failed). (more)
  • Let us not forget that President Williams has always opposed the 'school bullying bill.' Senate President Williams and Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer had a heated exchange in interviews with the Herald-Leader and WLKY (Louisville/Southern Indiana station) after Williams called the bill 'an excuse for the addition of curriculum dealing with aberrant behavior,' with Palmer accusing Williams of being homophobic and afraid of tolerance and other viewpoints. The aim of the bill has always been to give educators the tools they need to address bullying problems with gay students. (more)
What does the new makeup of the Senate mean for the Commonwealth's LGBTI population? Anything? Is it an indication of future election results in Kentucky?

Monday, August 31, 2009

All hope of striking down DOMA is with Massachusetts; Obama Administration plans to fight it

All hope of striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed in 1996 which prevents the federal government from recognizing marriages performed within states resides with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts says The National Law Journal, and the National Legal Scholars Council.

"If you're looking to effect legal change, you're looking for plaintiffs who have been harmed, a lawsuit reasonably well-funded, and the legal expertise to take it up [to] the appellate process," said Arthur Leonard of New York Law School, an expert on gay and lesbian legal issues.

Of the four current lawsuits against DOMA, the suit filed in July by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, is well-focused, well-financed, highly lawyered, and an infringement on the sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (previous story)

The Obama administration decided to defend the law in court even as it has stated publicly its plans to seek repeal in Congress. What? Does this make any sense? What a waste of tax dollars!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Utah Governor Gary Herbert: No protected class for gay people

Does the Governor of Utah live in the 21st Century? Does he realize how much the Republican Party has suffered because of the type of statement he made today?

"Discriminating against gay people shouldn't be illegal, although he would prefer it if everyone were treated with respect. We don't have to have a rule for everybody to do the right thing. We ought to just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and we don't have to have a law that punishes us if we don't." - Utah Governor Gary Herbert (For our International Readers: In the United States, the title "Governor" refers to the chief executive of each state, not directly subordinate to federal authorities, but the political and ceremonial head of the state)

How far from idealism the Republican Party has strayed since its founding in 1854 to end slavery, and ultimately crushed the Whig Party.

All of this is happening because Salt Lake City is considering passing an ordinance to protect gay and lesbian people, but the Utah Legislature is already considering passage of a state law that would trump it.

Governor Herbert is a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church), which lobbied hard to pass Prop 8 in California.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gay community morns the death of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy

The gay community has lost a valuable ally in the United States Senate, U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy. U.S. Senator Kennedy represented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but was a very powerful and influential figure as the Chairman of key U.S. Senate Committees; he therefore represented the entire LGBTI community.

Though facing medical problems of his own, when I emailed Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer about the death of U.S. Senator Kennedy, he had the following to say:

"Senator Kennedy in the early years of his career was 'a man before his time' with his progressive thinking,' he had strength of character, unwavering perseverance, and his death is a loss not only for equality, but our entire nation."

For nearly 50 years, Kennedy served alongside 10 U.S. Presidents, his brother, John Fitzgerald Kennedy ("JKF") among them. Kennedy was best known for his impressive list of legislative achievements on health care, civil rights, education, and immigration. Though he disagreed with church leaders on the issues of abortion and gay rights, Kennedy was a devout Catholic who clung to his religion's belief in the potential for human redemption.

U.S. Senator Kennedy responded to Kentucky Equality Federation's disapproval and condemnation (story) of the University of Kentucky's Dr. James Holsinger (story) being nominated for U.S. Surgeon General (mainly a ceremonial post, but acts as the face of public for anti-gay U.S. Surgeon General.

U.S. Senator Kennedy Chaired the U.S. Senate Committee that refused to confirm him.

Kennedy fought for HIV/AIDS funding, was one of the few Senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, he helped the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act pass the Senate in 2009, and he also introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

“The promise of America will never be fulfilled as long as justice is denied to even one among us," Sen. Kennedy said when speaking about ENDA. "The Employment Non-Discrimination Act brings us closer to fulfilling that promise for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.”

Kennedy had recently urged Massachusetts lawmakers to change current laws so the governor, if necessary, could quickly fill a U.S. Senate vacancy as the chamber debates the contentious healthcare issue.

Serving the people of Massachusetts in the United States Senate has been — and still is — the greatest honor of my public life. As I look ahead, I am convinced that enabling the Governor to fill a Senate vacancy through an interim appointment followed by a special election would best serve the people of our Commonwealth and country should a vacancy occur.

U.S. Senator Kennedy died Tuesday night at his home on Cape Cod after a year-long struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.

© Michael J. Thomas, Kentucky Equality Federation and Marriage Equality Kentucky Blogger

Monday, August 24, 2009

Religous Hate in Western Kentucky Borders on the Occult

Click here for the story from Hillbilly Report. Keep this in mind also:

"The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity." - Thomas Szasz

I am a Christian, but separation of church and state MUST be maintained. Also, NEVER forget THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT as stated by Jesus: "Love thy God and thy neighbor with all of your heart and soul."

“If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20).” This verse not only speak to your biological brother, but all of mankind, all humans; they same holds true.

People have always twisted religion and religious views to suit their own selfish needs; if you do believe in a higher power, he/she/? is certainly more evolved and intelligent to ever condone hating your neighbor or imposing your will on another.