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

District of Columbia expands domestic-partner provisions

D.C. Council on May 6 approved the addition of 39 new provisions to the city’s domestic partners law, bringing the law to a point where same-sex couples who register as domestic partners will receive most, but not quite all, of the rights and benefits of marriage under District law.

“I’m not a percentage type person,” said Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large), the author and lead sponsor of the legislation. “But I’d say we’re getting very close,” he said, to domestic partners receiving full parity with married couples under local law.

D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), who is a co-sponsor of the omnibus domestic partners bill passed by the Council last week, said the bill, combined with the existing DP law, amounts to a “de facto civil unions” law in the city.

“We may have a provision here and there that still needs to be changed, but this bill is a major chunk of what is needed to be completed,” Evans said.

Mendelson introduced two more domestic partnership bills earlier this year that he said will complete the process of providing same-sex partners with all of D.C.’s marriage-related rights, benefits and obligations.

The earlier D.C. bills approved by Council added most of the better known rights and benefits associated with marriage, such as full inheritance rights for domestic partners, obligations to pay alimony and child support in the event of dissolution of a domestic partnership, immunity from court testimony against a domestic partner and the ability to file joint income tax returns for local D.C. taxes.

The latest bill approved on May 6 changes a wide range of D.C. laws that touch on whether a city resident is married or single. It amends the D.C. Campaign Finance Reform and Conflict of Interest Law, for example, to include a domestic partner in the definition of a family member.

It amends the Boxing and Wrestling Commission Act of 1975 to prevent a commissioner from providing a financial advantage to a domestic partner in the same way the law prevents a commissioner from offering favoritism to a husband or wife.

39 new DP benefits

Below is a description of the main provisions D.C. City Council approved for the city’s registered domestic partners.

D.C. Council Bill 17-135 (Omnibus Domestic Partnership Equality Amendment Act of 2008)

  1. Amends General Legislative Procedures Act of 1975 to clarify that step relationships include relationships created by a domestic partnership registration.
  2. Amends D.C. Government Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act of 1978 to include a domestic partner in the definition of relative in the career and education services and to allow domestic partners to be included in employee’s health insurance, disability compensation and retirement.
  3. Amends D.C. Retirement Reform Act to include domestic partners as parties in interest.
  4. Amends Police Officers, Fire Fighters and Teachers Retirement Benefit Replace-ment Plan Act of 1998 to include domestic partners as parties in interest.
  5. Amends D.C. Campaign Finance Reform and Conflict of Interest Act to include domestic partner in the definition of immediate family.
  6. Amends D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977 to include domestic partner in the definition of family member.
  7. Amends the Act for the Promotion of Anatomical Science to prevent the desecration of graves in the District of Columbia to grant domestic partners standing as related to the deceased to provide for funerals that would otherwise be held at public expense.
  8. Amends the Boxing and Wrestling Commission Act of 1975 to preclude a commissioner from acting where it might affect the financial interest of his or her domestic partner.
  9. Amends D.C. Health Occupations Revisions Act of 1985 to include domestic partner within the definition of household member.
  10. Amends the Law to Legalize Lotteries, Daily Numbers, Games and Bingo and Raffles for Charitable Purposes in the District of Columbia to exclude domestic partners of certain persons from eligibility for prizes of providing supplies.
  11. Amends the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Act of 1977 to exclude domestic partner privilege from testimony concerning the welfare of or the removal of parental rights of a neglected child.
  12. Amends “An Act” to provide for the mandatory reporting by physicians and institutions in the District of Columbia of certain physical abuse of children to provide that the domestic partner privilege shall not be grounds for excluding evidence in neglect proceedings.
  13. Amends “An Act” to authorize the establishment of a band in the Metropolitan Police Force to include domestic partners as survivors for purposes of police band director retirement.
  14. Amends the D.C. Housing Authority Act of 1999 to prohibit the domestic partner of certain persons from being commissioners.
  15. Amends the Uniform Declaration of Death Act of 1981 to prohibit domestic partners from witnessing a death certificate.
  16. Amends the Mental Health Consumers’ Rights Protection Act of 2001 to preserve the right of consumers to enter into and dissolve domestic partnerships.
  17. Amends the AIDS Health Care Response Act of 1986 to expand services under this act to include an AIDS patient’s domestic partner.
  18. Amends section 15-503 of the D.C. Official Code to include domestic partners when computing family aggregate earnings to determine an exemption.
  19. Amends Title 16 of the D.C. Official Code to include domestic partners in the list of persons who can petition for habeas corpus and whose testimonial privilege does not apply in family division cases.
  20. Amends section 19-1106 of the D.C. Official Code to provide a presumption of survivorship for domestic partners with regard to custodial trusts.
  21. Amends Title 21 of the D.C. Code to give domestic partners the same standing as spouses in the treatment of mentally ill partners.
  22. Amends “An Act” to establish a code of laws for the District of Columbia to prohibit false personations for domestic partnership registrations.
  23. Amends Section 23-547 of the D.C. Official Code to provide immunity from testimony for domestic partners.
  24. Amends “An Act” relating to the payment or delivery by banks or other persons or institutions in the District of Columbia of deposits of money and property held in the names of two or more persons to include domestic partners as survivors for joint accounts.
  25. Amends Title 28 of the D.C. Official Code to include the interest of domestic partners in trust administration decisions.
  26. Amends the Health Insurance portability and Accountability Federal Law Conformity and No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act of 1998 to include domestic partners as dependents.
  27. Amends the Life Insurance Act to include domestic partners as dependants.
  28. Amends the Employment Services Licensing and Regulation Act of 1984 to include domestic partnership within the meaning of the marital status.
  29. Amends the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 to permit legal relationships substantially similar to domestic partnerships to qualify for benefits and to clarify that a domestic partnership is terminated upon the marriage of the partners.
  30. Amends the D.C. Workers’ Compensation Act of 1979 to include domestic partners as survivors.
  31. Amends “An Act” for the retirement of public-school teachers in the District of Columbia to include domestic partners as survivors.
  32. Amends the D.C. Deed Recordation Tax Act to replace gender specific terms with gender neutral terms.
  33. Amends the Residential Real Property Seller Disclosure, Funeral Services Date Change, and Public Service Com-mission Independent Procure-ment Authority Act of 1998 to include transfers of real estate between domestic partners as excluded from the provisions of that chapter.
  34. Amends “An Act” to establish a code of law for the District of Columbia to permit domestic partners to hold property as tenants by the entirety and to revise the deed forms to include domestic partners.
  35. Amends the Condominium Act of 1976 to permit domestic partners to hold condominium units as tenants by the entirety.
  36. Amends the Rental Housing Conversation and Sale Act of 1980 to replace gender-specific terms with gender-neutral terms.
  37. Amends the Rental Housing Act of 1985 to include domestic partners when making the determination of the smallest unit size appropriate for an eligible family.
  38. Amends the Nursing Home and Community Residence Facility Residents’ Protections Act of 1985 to include domestic partners among those unqualified to be appointed as a receiver.
  39. Amends Title 47 of the D.C. Official Code to require domestic partners be treated the same as spouses in the administration of District of Columbia Tax law.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kentucky Gay Civil Rights Leader Elected to the Board of a National Organization

Jordan Palmer, co-founder and president of Kentucky Equality Federation has been unanimously elected to the Board of Directors of Marriage Equality USA. Marriage Equality USA was founded in 1998 and has chapters operating across the nation.

Jordan Palmer, co-founder and president of Kentucky Equality Federation has been unanimously elected to the Board of Directors of Marriage Equality USA. Marriage Equality USA was founded in 1998 and has chapters operating across the nation.Marriage Equality USA seeks to "secure legally recognized civil marriage for all, at the federal and state level, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation."

Marriage Equality USA has made headlines in recent years for their fight to legalize equal marriage rights for the LGBT citizens of California, whose case is currently before the California Supreme Court arguing for the equal right for LGBT people to marry in California. Marriage Equality USA is using a 1948 court ruling (Perez v. Sharp) that overturned a law prohibiting interracial marriage, concluding the right to marry the person of your choice is a "fundamental right of citizenship."Palmer will be working alongside an army of national activists, including celebrities who are members of the Advisory Board to the Board of Directors of Marriage Equality USA, including Jason & Demarco, Ari Gold, and Brian Kent.

Some of Marriage Equality USA's other activities to date include:
  1. The first organization (joint effort with Lambda Legal) to institute a comprehensive grass roots marriage and media training program for activists.
  2. Began the Valentine's Day/Freedom to Marry Day Marriage License Counter demonstrations across the country; same-sex couples ask for marriage licenses from their city hall and county recorder's offices.
  3. Obtained support of our Marriage Declaration from council members, clergy, community boards, mayors, and other key people throughout the United States.
  4. Sponsored the first-ever Same-Sex Wedding Expo in New York, garnering solid support from gay and non-gay businesses.

"I think Kentucky Equality Federation's strategic alliance with Marriage Equality USA, as well as my appointment to their national Board of Directors is the first step toward repealing Kentucky's 2004 anti-gay amendment, as well as garnering additional support for non-discrimination laws, hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples, and other laws to bring complete equality to Kentucky," stated Palmer.
Palmer's appointment to Marriage Equality USA's Board of Directors is for two years. For additional information, visit, or

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gay Equality Rally Held in Kentucky Capitol

February 20, 2008 -- Two gay rights groups lobbied lawmakers yesterday and held a rally in the Capitol Rotunda in opposition to the proposed ban on domestic-partner benefits.

The state Senate passed the bill (SB-112) in January. The bills fate now lies in the House of Representatives.

The groups also supported House Bill 33 filed by state Representative Mary Lou Marzian (D) Louisville, which is currently in the House Health and Welfare Committee for consideration.

"It's great that our legislatures are seeing that there is a huge LGBT presence in the commonwealth demanding equality and fairness under Kentucky law," stated Jordan Palmer, President of the Kentucky Equality Federation, a statewide gay rights organization. Palmer added, "Every Kentuckian should feel embarrassed that we have a Senate who wants to micromanage public universities, and kills every bill filed to protect LGBT Kentuckians from discrimination in employment, credit, and accommodations."

After lobbying lawmakers, a rally was held in the Capitol Rotunda where spectators drew inspiration from Kentucky Senator Ernesto Scorsone, Representative Kathy W. Stein, and a local Pastor.

The University of Kentucky, whose domestic-partner benefits program was attacked by the state Senate was represented by UK Gay-Straight Alliance Chairwoman Corinne Keel.

"For the first time in the history of the Gay Rights Movement in Kentucky, we are able to show that gay Kentuckians exist in every region of the commonwealth, and they deserve the same rights and protections as their heterosexual counterparts," stated Paul Brown, Chairman of Bluegrass Fairness of Central Kentucky, a Lexington gay rights group.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kentucky and Indiana Equality Rally this week.

Two statewide gay rights organizations in the Midwest will be having important battles at respective Capitol's this week to fight for equality:

  • Kentucky Equality Rally: February 12, 2008 (click here for additional information). According to their website, Kentucky Equality Federation will be joined by local city organizations, Bluegrass Fairness of Central Kentucky (Lexington) and the Fairness Campaign (Louisville).
  • Indiana Equality Rally: February 18, 2008 (click here for additional information)

The most important work is being done by the statewide organizations, and not the Human Rights Campaign.

Support gay rights and equality. If you live in or near these states, support these organizations.