Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kentucky Equality Federation and the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group today condemned House Bill 350 as ethically irresponsible and a crime against anyone living with HIV/AIDS.

Lexington, KY – Two statewide advocacy groups, Kentucky Equality Federation and the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group today condemned House Bill 350 as ethically irresponsible and a crime against anyone living with HIV/AIDS.

House Bill 350 seeks to remove HIV/AIDS training and education requirements for licensed service providers such as physicians, registered nurses, social workers, etc. Both organizations are opposed to the legislation because treatment options change rapidly, making it imperative that all health care professionals know the physical manifestations of HIV/AIDS. It is a matter of getting people in the proper care as soon as possible. This could be the difference in a healthy outcome or multiple misdiagnoses that would end up costing more financially either for the patient themselves or for the taxpayers of Kentucky.

"Treatment options change rapidly, therefore physicians or other clinicians that do not treat HIV/AIDS as a specialty would be hard pressed to know the best treatment options for their patients infected with this disease," stated Bobby Edelen, president of the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group.

To compound the issue, Kentucky lawmakers allowed the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program to expire. "The fact that the Commonwealth also stopped funding the low-income Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program in 2007 is inhumane, shortsighted, and threatens individual and public health," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer.

Gary L. Fowler, a special adviser to the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group, and Co-Chair of the Kentucky HIV Prevention Advisory Council (KHPAC) stated: "I would like to point out that surveillance training is necessary for us to have the best information available to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Kentucky has a high number of people infected with the disease that report unknown risk factors. If we do not have accurate numbers for who is being infected and what their behavioral risk factors are, we do not have a clear picture of where we need to target our prevention dollars."

Edelen continued: "House Bill 350 does a disservice to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky by lowering healthcare standards for service providers and should be defeated. The citizens of this great Commonwealth deserve the best representation from their lawmakers to ensure the quality of healthcare is held to a higher standard than ‘minimum’ and enforced with every protection under the law."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Marriage Equality Kentucky begins collecting pro-gay marriage signatures

Marriage Equality Kentucky is launching a campaign to collect signatures for marriage equality in Kentucky.

From the website:

The Marriage Equality Kentucky Marriage Declaration is a proclamation that marriage is a basic constitutional right that should be extended to all people. Currently, the Commonwealth of Kentucky will not recognize any type of same-sex union. Marriage, domestic partnerships, and civil unions are all illegal in Kentucky (even if performed in other countries or states).

In 2004*, voters in the Commonwealth approved Constitutional Amendment 233A. Visit the history page for additional information.
According to published reports, between 78.2% - 84% of Kentucky's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population didn't even know a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage was being voted on.

* Kentucky Equality Federation was started in 2005, and Marriage Equality Kentucky was launched in 2008.

Kentucky's Constitution does not allow citizens to propose Constitutional Amendments by direct action (as in California, Maine, and many others). In Kentucky, the House and Senate must approve the amendment and the citizens then approve or reject the amendment in the next general election.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Marriage Equality USA begins offering membership to independent organizations and groups

Communicating with other organizations around the country is critical to the success of the marriage equality movement in the United States.

As such, Marriage Equality USA is now offering cooperative support to organizations and groups around the United States who agree to commit to Marriage Equality USA's Mission Statement. (more)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Join the Impact! Multiple protests scheduled around Kentucky

November 15, 2008 -- The 2008 election was a bitter-sweet celebration. We came together to witness the first black man who will become the president of the greatest republic in the world, the United States of America; on the other hand, we watched in sadness as Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and California all voted down equality. (story)

This is not a four-state issue. This is an issue of equality across the United States. Stand up and make your voice heard!

Tomorrow, Marriage Equality Kentucky, GLSO Pride Center, college Gay-Straight Alliances and many others across the Commonwealth joins in the spirit of the grassroots movement taking to the streets to stand up for our full dignity as LGBT Americans.

Marriage Equality Kentucky, as a member of Kentucky Equality Federation and the International Lesbian and Gay Association, will join in this national call to action and urge you to add your city and your voice to the growing call for liberty, justice and marriage equality for all around our great republic.

We urge organizers to continue the momentum by joining the mailing list at, participating in a protest around the Commonwealth, and volunteer.

Click here to visit the the Equality Center at for event information and links!

Multiple events are being held around Kentucky tomorrow! (more)

Join the Impact!


Jordan Palmer (President), Dean Byrd (Administrative Coordinator), Michael Hollingsworth (Treasurer, and Board), Casey Kurtis (Board), N. C. Couch (Board), Kimball Roy (Board), Paul Johnson (Board), Trevor Ashley, Nick Herweck, and Brandi Walker.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

California Hyatt owner donates over $100,000 to ban gay marriage

Gay rights supporters and their union allies plan to launch a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt because its owner, Doug Manchester, contributed $125,000 to Proposition 8, an amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the November ballot.

Organizers of the campaign, which is expected to be announced at a news conference Thursday, say they believe it is the first time that gay rights supporters have boycotted a business whose owner seeks to ban same-sex marriage.

Leaders will urge the public to avoid the downtown hotel because they say that support for Proposition 8 amounts to unfair treatment of gays and lesbians.

“Manchester's contribution to this anti-marriage initiative is discrimination plain and simple,” said Brigette Browning, president of Unite Here Local 30, which represents 4,500 hotel and restaurant workers.

The Manchester Grand Hyatt is not unionized.

Manchester and campaign officials from Proposition 8 did not return phone calls seeking comment.

In an interview earlier this year, Manchester said that he decided to donate to Proposition 8 because he had heard that schools that teach that marriage is between a man and a woman could be sued for discriminating against gays.

In addition, he said, he was motivated by his strong Catholic faith to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.

But, he said that he welcomes gays and lesbians to his hotels and restaurants.

Gay rights leaders say they are not targeting the Hyatt Corp. – which operates the Manchester Grand Hyatt – because the company has a good record in hiring and supporting gays and lesbians. But they are singling out the Manchester property.

In May, California became the second state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage after the state Supreme Court ruled that laws banning it violate the right to marry in the state constitution. A court ruling in Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in that state four years ago.

In November, voters get a chance to overturn the California ruling, if they vote for a constitutional ban under Proposition 8.

Manchester is one of several San Diegans whose large contributions helped put the initiative on the ballot. Others include Mission Valley developer Terry Caster, who gave $162,500, and Robert Hoehn, owner of Hoehn Motors in Carlsbad, who has given $25,000.

Fred Karger, who is helping to organize the boycott and is running an organization opposed to Proposition 8, said he is also urging the public to boycott Manchester's other hotel, the Grand Del Mar.

“This is someone who is giving an exorbitant amount of money to write discrimination into the constitution for the very first time,” he said.

Karger said he hopes the boycott will send a message to other potential contributors to the Proposition 8 campaign.

“Our goal is to create a business loss for people who contribute,” he said. “We want to make it a little uncomfortable.”

The results of the boycott could be watched closely.

In the battle over Proposition 8, both sides will be trying to raise huge amounts of money, nearly $15 million each, to make their case to voters. In 2000, 61 percent of California voters approved Proposition 22, enacting a statutory ban on same-sex marriages. But in late May of this year after the court ruling, the non-partisan Field Poll found a majority of California voters opposed a constitutional ban and by a slimmer majority for the first time supported same-sex marriage.

Backers of Proposition 8 have predicted that any boycott efforts would fail.

“Support for traditional marriage is a mainstream view,” said Andrew Pugno, an attorney for, which supports Proposition 8. “I can't imagine that efforts to boycott businesses with mainstream views are going to be successful.”

In April, once Manchester's contribution became widely known, two gay rights organizations, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and PlanetOut Inc., moved events they had scheduled at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Christian" group aims to stop NY recognition of gay marriages

A Christian legal organization says it has sued to stop New York from recognizing same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.

The Alliance Defense Fund says it filed its lawsuit Tuesday in a court in the Bronx. Several Republican state senators are named as party to the suit.

Gay marriage is unconstitutional in New York. Gov. David Paterson however told state agencies on May 14 that New York must recognize same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts, Canada and other places where they are legal.

The Arizona-based legal group filing the lawsuit has intervened elsewhere in gay marriage and religious freedom cases including those involving abortion and what it calls traditional family values.

DNC Thinks LGBT Has Too Many Letters?

The list of credentialed blogs to cover the Democratic National Convention was released this evening and Bilerico Project was denied credentials. Contributor Pam Spaulding's home blog, Pam's House Blend, was one of two gay blogs issued credentials. The other blog? Towleroad.

Towleroad is not known for racial diversity, trans inclusion, or its lesbian audience. It is a site for wealthy gay white men -- the HRC demographic. Their advertising info reads "News. Entertainment. Gossip. Media. Art. Life. Most Unique Users: 500,000; 95% male; 85% US; 52% earn $75,000+; 40% earn $100,000+" Where was "politics" in that description? Did they pick up on the lack of women? What about the lack of average American salaries? Towleroad's readers' average salary is almost double the median annual household income. Household. Not one person.

It's not that I have anything against Andy Towle and the product he's built. It's damn good and he definitely has an audience; hell, I'm a regular reader. I am, after all, his target audience. But when was the last time you saw serious in-depth political coverage on Towleroad or committed coverage of an issue from multiple angles or guest posts from members of Congress and Presidential candidates? Bilerico has brought our readers all of that and more.

At Bilerico Project we're committed to the diversity others give lip service. We asked for credentials for myself, Jerame Davis, Serena Freewomyn, Marti Abernathey, Monica Roberts and Eric Marcus. Two trans women from middle America (one African-American), two gay activists from Indiana, a lesbian feminist from Arizona, and a New York Times bestselling author and former television news producer from New York.

Pam's House Blend also promoted diversity in their application by getting credentials for all of her regulars. Towleroad has a niche - upperclass white gay men; it's not that diverse. Maybe there are too many letters for the DNC to spell LGBT. When TBP first launched, Managing Editor Alex Blaze would often use the line, "Not everything queer is marriage, martinis and Madonna." Maybe we should have stuck with the big 3 Ms after all.

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Kentucky Governor bans discrimination for sexual orientation/gender identity

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear on Monday reversed several worker-related decisions made by his Republican predecessor, most notably by reinstating a ban on discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

Beshear signed an executive order that bars state officials from making hiring or firing decisions based on sexual preference or gender identity.

"Experience, qualifications, talent and performance are what matter," Beshear said in a statement.

Democratic former Gov. Paul Patton signed an executive order in 2003 aimed at protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees. The policy also bars discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, age and religion.

But Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher removed sexual orientation from the list of specifically protected characteristics as part of an executive order he signed on Diversity Day in April 2006.

Beshear declined to answer questions about the policy change at a news conference shortly before it was announced.

"I'm going to be doing something on that in the very near future," he repeated as his response to two questions about the subject.

The move was applauded by at least two advocacy groups for gay and lesbian rights: the Kentucky Equality Federation, which started an online petition to urge Beshear to take that step, and the Kentucky Fairness Alliance.

The alliance's executive director, Christina Gilgor, said the group was "thrilled" that Kentucky is back among the 27 states that offer such protections specifically to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender state workers.

"This is a major victory for fairness in the Bluegrass State," said state Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, a Lexington Democrat and the state's only openly gay lawmaker. "The executive branch is setting an example of how to treat employees fairly."

But David Edmunds, policy analyst for The Family Foundation of Kentucky, said his group is concerned that Beshear could expand other state policies to gay couples, such as providing state health insurance for domestic partners of gay and lesbian state employees.

"It looks like this is the beginning of his pro-homosexual agenda," Edmunds said.

Beshear, however, made no such campaign promises. He did repeatedly vow during last year's governor's race to veto any legislation aimed at barring public universities from offering domestic partnership benefits to their employees. A bill to do that passed the Republican-led state Senate this spring but died in the Democratic-controlled House.

Also Monday, Beshear began his shake-up of state government by formally elevating the Labor Department to a full cabinet and by bringing back an advisory group on state worker issues. The group is aimed at opening communications between unions and the governor's office.

The restoration of the Governor's Employee Advisory Council -- created by Patton and abolished by Fletcher in 2003 -- doesn't give state workers collective bargaining powers because that can be done only legislatively.

State workers "do not have to join (a union). They do not have to pay dues," Beshear said.

But public employees would be able to express workplace concerns to the governor through union representatives who are used to negotiating with executives, said Dave Warrick, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees' council that covers Indiana and Kentucky.

"The state employees are hungry for this," Warrick said. "They want a voice at work."

About 10,000 Kentucky state workers signed up to be represented by AFSCME after Patton created the advisory group, but the union didn't get a chance to collect any dues from them before Fletcher eliminated the panel, he said.

Beshear also signed an executive order creating the Cabinet of Labor, to be headed by former state Rep. J.R. Gray. That completes a campaign promise Beshear made last year.

His reorganization of the agency provided some hints as to how Beshear might restructure all of state government in the face of a tight budget.

The governor said he will eliminate three high-paying executive director positions -- two that come with salaries of more than $90,000 and one in the low $80,000 range -- to save money.

The Labor Cabinet will share administrative functions, such as accounting, with its two sister agencies: an energy and environment cabinet and the financial regulation cabinet. All had been part of one giant Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet under Fletcher. If effective, he said, he could replicate that in other areas of state government.

One Kentucky blogger, "Righteous in Kentucky" is personally attacking Kentucky Equality's Pres. (here and here) as well as Kentucky Fairness' Board Chair (here) Jody Cofer.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

DeGeneres needles McCain on gay marriage

Go Ellen!

Republican John McCain says same-sex couples should be allowed to enter into legal agreements for insurance and other purposes, but he opposes gay marriage and believes in "the unique status of marriage between and man and a woman."

"And I know that we have a respectful disagreement on that issue," the likely Republican presidential nominee said in an interview to air Thursday on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

DeGeneres needled McCain on the issue, arguing that she and the senator from Arizona aren't different.

National marriage-equality organization praises U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and warns printed media and bloggers "don't count him out yet."

Marriage Equality USA Says U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy is a Strong Man, and a Fighter

Thank God someone finally said it, I mean how rude is it to be talking about replacing a senior U.S. Senator before we even know what his treatment options will be yet!

Look at Elizabeth Edwards, she's been living with cancer for years! U.S. Senator Kennedy has been a major supporter of the LGBT community, and for same-sex marriage!

Marriage Equality USA was also deeply touched by the appearance of Elizabeth Edwards on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Wednesday.

Marriage Equality USA strongly agrees with the statement of Elizabeth Edwards that "we shouldn't be writing anybody's obituary." Many media outlets and blogger around the country have been speculating about who will replace U.S. Senator Kennedy which Marriage Equality USA considers disrespectful.

"Marriage Equality USA sends our thoughts and prayers to U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and his family. We know Senator Kennedy is a real fighter because he has been one of the gay community's strongest advocates. He has been a leader in our fight for the freedom to marry and his support has been unwavering on this civil rights issue. Senator Kennedy is our hero and friend and our hearts go out to him." - Marriage Equality USA President David Janis-Kitzmiller