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We hope you enjoy our Newsletter and Updates. If you ever have content you want us to consider including, please contact us!  Kentucky Equality Federation is the Commonwealth's largest all-volunteer organization with 3 Independent member organizations and an additional 5 organizations as coalition partners, including Kentucky Equal Ballot Access, the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Campaign, and Marriage Equality Kentucky!
Forced Government Religion - Kentucky Equality Federation condemns House Bill 279 - Take Action!
Kentucky Equality Federation's QR Code
Kentucky Equality Federation's QR Code 
Both the Kentucky and U.S. constitutions provide freedom of religion. House Bill 279 would eliminate protections in cities who have passed local equality ordinances and give permission to discriminate.

Summary from Administration:  "House Bill 279 represents a clear and present danger to the gay and lesbian community and other minority groups around the commonwealth," stated Kentucky Equality Federation president Jordan Palmer. "Thousands of Kentuckians are opposing the legislation. We urge Governor Steve Beshear to veto the legislation. Both the Kentucky and U.S. constitutions provide for freedom of religion and Kentucky Equality Federation supports freedom of religion. However, what we need is freedom from religion; lawmakers use religion as a means to deny someone a fundamental civil right. In 2010 the Kentucky House of Representatives passed Resolution 232, the Manhattan Declaration made Christianity the official religion of the Commonwealth. House Bill 279 does nothing more than give people permission to discriminate based on their religious beliefs thereby taking it beyond 'freedom of religion' to 'forced religion' because they have imposed their religious beliefs on others with legal authority to do so."

Summary from the Legal Department:  To break it down, Kentucky Equality Federation's Vice President of Legal, Jillian Hall, Esq. stated: "House Bill 279 has the potential to harm local ordinances in place in Louisville, Lexington and Vicco. Essentially, an individual can continue to discriminate against a gay individual in violation of the ordinance and be protected under this new law by showing that it is in conflict with their closely held religious beliefs. While the language adding "substantial" to the burden (via an amendment to the bill) does add some protections, as it is very difficult to meet the level of "substantial burden" in the courts (as would have to be shown by the discriminating party), the law still is a major step backward for the equality movement. 

Kentucky Equality Federation Vice President of Legal, Jillian Hall, Esq.
Vice President of Legal, Jillian Hall, Attorney-at-Law 
Right now, people discriminate freely and openly against the gay community without recourse due to the lack of a Kentucky statewide equality law. Similar laws to this proposed bill have been passed in several other states after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the U.S. Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1997 (as applied to the states). This law is nothing more than a poor recitation of the First Amendment, and is a thinly veiled move by the legislature showing their lack of respect or tolerance for the LGBTI community. While I do not feel that this will significantly affect anything in the courts, this law, along with the Manhattan Declaration of 2010 as mentioned by Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer, acts to block forward progress and is a continued embarrassment for the Commonwealth."

Kentucky Equality Federation will continue to monitor House Bill 279 and may challenge it in court if it undermines equality efforts.
Read more: Kentucky Equality Federation Condemns House Bill 279 - Forced Religious Imposition Act 

Read more: Special Rights for Some; Kentucky House of Representatives continues to stall Statewide Equality Law

TAKE ACTION # 1:  Do not allow them to take away your Kentucky Civil Rights! House Bill 279 is in the Senate (it has already passed the House). Call and voice your descent!  Call (800) 372-7181 to oppose the legislation which would permit discrimination based on religious beliefs! Oppose House Bill 279 currently being considered by the Senate! Kentucky Equality Federation has condemned this legislation.

TAKE ACTION # 2:  WE ARE KENTUCKY! Equality NOW: Sign: The moral and ethical course of action = Equality!    

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Since 2005 Kentucky Equality Federation has served as public advocate for people discriminated against and disenfranchised.
 - Our history speaks for itself:
Kentucky Equality Federation and allied organizations rally at the Kentucky Capitol
Kentucky Equality Federation, Marriage Equality Kentucky, and Kentuckians Against the War on Women held a rally at the Kentucky Capitol.

NBC - Lexington:

ABC - Lexington:
Kentucky Equality Federation Stops School Districts from Distributing Bibles and petitions the Kentucky Government
Kentucky Equality Federation objected to Bibles being given to middle school students in Grant County Schools (more) and Logan County Schools (read the order), (press release) after being contacted by several parents.

Both Cease and Desist Orders received a lot of media attention. Though the response from Kentucky Equality Federation's Legal Department was a little more harsh, Administration and the Board issued the following statements:

"I believe in God and I know God loves all people. I am a practicing Christian, and I also practice Taoism. However, a public school is not the proper venue to distribute religious materials of any type," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "This practice will cease immediately or I will instruct our legal department to sue. I will teach my children about religion at home. We again are notifying the Kentucky Department of Education and the Office of Kentucky Education Secretary, Mr. Joseph U. Meyer."

Kentucky Equality Federation's Religious Outreach Director, Minister Edith Baker, Ph.D. raised another issue:  "Here is the foundation of this matter; if Christians are 'allowed to pass out Bibles,' then all other religious and non religious groups will have this right. As a Christian believer since childhood and an ordained minister, I believe we have enough homes, churches and other public venues to provide this service."
Kentucky Equality Federation officials recently contacted Paducah Middle School about bullying complaints. Due to the severity of one of complaints, with one child saying she was considering suicide, the complaint was pulled from the School Bullying Committee and handled directly by Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer and Attorney Jillian Hall, Vice President of Legal.

For a copy of the letter Kentucky Equality Federation sent to the school, follow this link (legal warning):
Teacher Writes 'You Can't Be A Democrat & Go To Heaven' On Chalkboard; Kentucky Equality Federation files complaint against the teacher leading to mediation 
A complaint was filed against a teacher accused of writing anti-Democrat rhetoric on her classroom chalkboard.

"You can't be a Democrat & go to heaven," the board of South Laurel High School teacher Kendra Baker read, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The message reportedly went up one week after the Nov. 6 presidential elections.

The Kentucky Equality Federation, a gay rights and equality group in the state, released a statement blasting Baker's actions.

"The School Superintendent reprimanded the Laurel County teacher, citing that she broke with policy regarding the environment of the classroom and we thank Superintendent Doug Bennett for his swift action," KEF president Jordan Palmer was quoted as saying in a press release on the organization's website.

"Kentucky Equality Federation contends the objective of such a message was to scare children into thinking a certain ideology by damaging the thought process, scaring the Commonwealth's youth, introducing partisan politics in the classroom, imposing one-sided views on the classroom and generally directing the students into confined thinking."

Palmer added, "Regardless of the origin of the statement, the teacher had the greater responsibility to remain objective."
  1. Read the National News 
  2. Read the Lexington Herald-Leader News

-> Please visit In the News for additional information.
Thank you for your time, attention, and dedication to equality! 

Please forward this email to as many people as possible!  We need them on our email list!

In solidarity for equality,

Brandon Combs
Chairman of the Board

Miles Meehan
Vice Chairman of the Board

Jordan Palmer

Joshua Koch
Vice President of Policy & Public Relations
Chief of the Policy & Public Relations Department

Jillian Hall, Esq.
Vice President of Legal
Chief of the Legal Department

 Gary Fowler
Managing Director, Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Campaign

Tom Dappas
Managing Director, Marriage Equality Kentucky

Fran Everage
Secretary of the Corporation

Dean Byrd
Assistant Secretary of the Corporation
-> Click here for a complete list of management and volunteers.
In This Issue:
Urgent Action Alert! House Bill 279
Rally at the Kentucky Capitol
Bibles in School Districts
Paducah City Schools receive high marks on school bullying
Teacher Writes 'You Can't Be A Democrat & Go To Heaven'

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