Kentucky Equality Federation is an umbrella gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization in the Commonwealth of Kentucky consisting of Federation for Kentucky Equality, Inc., Kentucky Equality Coalition, Inc., and Kentucky Equality PAC.
History and leadership Edit
The organization was founded by Jordan Palmer on November 01, 2005, and became the second gay rights organization in the commonwealth, with the first being the Kentucky Fairness Alliance. The Kentucky Equality Federation joined the International Lesbian and Gay Association in August 2006.
Originally called Kentucky Equal Rights, the organization adopted the name Kentucky Equality (by majority vote of its members), with either "Association" or "Federation" always appearing afterwards. Kentucky Equality has "The Equality Party", "Commonwealth Equality", "Kentucky Equality Federation", and "Kentucky Equality Association" listed as assumed names with the Kentucky Secretary of State.
Kentucky Equality Federation is an organization of volunteer management, there is no paid staff such as an Executive Director. The President is the chief executive officer of the organization and is supervised by a volunteer Board of Directors (as required by Kentucky law for non-profits) as well as a General Advisory Council. The General Advisory Council is composed of 10-15 members elected to two (2) year terms.
Condemnation of Kentucky Fairness AllianceEdit
According to published reports, one reason for the dispute between the two organizations was related to Bluegrass Fairness of Central Kentucky, once a chapter of Kentucky Fairness Alliance. Kentucky Equality Federation’s General Advisory Council also sited problems in working with the Executive Director of Kentucky Fairness Alliance.
The condemnation was short lived; on April 18, 2008 Kentucky Equality Federation's Board of Directors rescinded the General Advisory Council's condemnation of Kentucky Fairness Alliance and terminated 9 of the 14 members on the General Advisory Council.
In March 2007 the Kentucky Equality Federation won a MySpace Impact Award in the area of Social Justice, beating Do Something and Loose Change to Loosen Change. The Federation was awarded a $10,000.00 cash prize and promotional support from MySpace.
Incident with Representative FischerEdit
Prior to the November 2006 General Election Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer verbally attacked Kentucky Representative Joseph Fisher (R) after he stated "homosexuals have not experienced the same type of insidious discrimination in housing and employment as blacks and women." In addition, Fischer stated he believed homosexuals could easily change their sexual orientation.
Palmer responded by inviting Fischer to "change his sexual orientation to homosexual for 48 hours," a request Representative Fischer declined.
The highly publicized exchange between Palmer and Fischer led to Kentucky Equality Federation holding a protest labeled "The Fischer Re-Education Rally" outside a debate held between Fischer and his Democratic challenger.
On September 5, 2006 the Kentucky Equality Federation announced they would act as a "buffer" for victims of discrimination, hate crimes, and school bullying establishing a toll-free number, 877-KEF-5775 and an online complaint system to report incidents. The federation stated they believe a lot of incidents go unreported each year throughout Kentucky because of bad experiences in working with law enforcement, while others feared being “outed” or reprisals would ensue from their perpetrators.
Even prior to establishing an official complaint system, Kentucky's gay community leaned heavily on the Federation for help in resolving complaints, and the Federation has showed its ability to apply significant political pressure in incidents with Boone County High School, the fast-food franchisor Steak n' Shake, and Northern Kentucky University.
Governor's Derby Breakfast ProtestEdit
Kentucky Equality made national, state, and local headlines on May 06, 2006 when they led a protest at the Governor's Annual Derby Breakfast.
The protest was in response to Governor Ernie Fletcher's refusal to veto fuding to the University of the Cumberlands after expelling a student for revealing he was gay on the social networking site MySpace. The Kentucky state budget, passed by the 2006 Kentucky legislature, includes $10 million of state debt to construct a pharmacy building on the school's Whitley County campus. Additionally, one million dollars for scholarships for the pharmacy program are included.
Boone County High SchoolEdit
Kentucky Equality was key to getting the first Gay-Straight Alliance approved at Boone County High School in Northern Kentucky. On July 19 2006 Boone County High School ended more than a year of stonewalling and avoided a federal and state lawsuit by finally approving the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance. Jordan Palmer, founder and president of the Kentucky Equality Federation warned school officials that he would file a lawsuit in federal court for violating the federal Equal Access Act which requires schools to treat Gay-Straight Alliance’s as they would any other school group, and a separate lawsuit with the Kentucky Court of Justice for violating the Kentucky Education Reform Act.
Other regular activitiesEdit
Federal, state and local media sometimes turn to Kentucky Equality Federation for responses to news events involving GLBT people.
- Official Site
- United We Stand Blog
- Equality Center
- Kentucky Equality PAC
- Kentucky Equality Protest Video
- ↑ Herald Leader Frankfort Bureau (09 January 2008) One state gay rights group breaks ties with another; leadership of Fairness Alliance blamed Lexington Herald-Leader. Accessed 11 January 2008.
- ↑ queerty.com (09 January 2008) Drama destroys activist coalition in Kentucky; No Alliance for Federation Queerty. Accessed 11 January 2008.
- ↑ commonwealth-equality.org (10 January 2008) Kentucky Equality Federation's General Advisory Council comments on Fairness Alliance Kentucky Equality Federation Media. Accessed 11 January 2008.
- ↑ By Kevin Eigelbach, Post staff reporter. (25 October 2006) Representative Fischer's (R) statement upsets gays Kentucky Enquirer. Accessed 14 July 2007.
- ↑ by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff. (20 July 2006) Gay Group Gets Green Light At Kentucky High School 365Gay.com News. Accessed 14 July 2007.