Showing posts with label kentucky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kentucky. Show all posts

November 29, 2016

Kentucky LGBT Community Feels Nov. Election have Put Gains in Jeopardy

Many communities in the commonwealth have moved to protect LGBT residents by enacting fairness ordinances, but one well-known Kentucky gay rights advocate says the November elections have put those gains in jeopardy.

Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman heads to the nation’s capital this Friday to report on the state’s role as a leader in organizing rural LGBT communities, but he says the meeting of the White House Rural Council will take place in a climate of trepidation for his group. 

"We're going to have a multifaceted, multi-front fight on our hands in the Kentucky General Assembly," he predicts.

Hartman first points to one piece of legislation he’s confirmed will make another appearance in 2017 – Senate Bill 180, permitting business owners to decline to provide services that conflict with their religious beliefs. The measure proved a non-starter in the Democratically-controlled House in March, but its chances would appear much improved when Republicans claim their supermajority in the chamber next January.

Although the upcoming session is short – just 30 days – Hartman anticipates a deluge of bills aimed at challenging the initiatives his group has championed over the years.

"States like Oklahoma this year faced 21 bills. Other states, Texas I think, had more than 40," he notes. "This year, Kentucky had more than half a dozen anti-LGBT bills."

The "anti-LGBT" descriptor is one that rankles many backers of the legislation.

In floor remarks before casting his vote for SB180 this year, Hazard Republican Brandon Smith told his colleagues, "My vote today is not out of hate. It's not directed toward any group whatsoever. It's to make sure that every single group, whatever their values is [sic], whatever their ideas are, that they're all the same and that they have the right to run their business without being threatened or put into a tough spot that goes contrary to their beliefs."

Sen. Albert Robinson, a Republican from London, has argued Kentucky law already shields business owners who refrain from delivering services that violate their conscience, telling WUKY last March that that SB180 simply "puts it there where it's easy to read, easy to see. And if they want to challenge [it], let the people challenge that law instead of the little business person."

But Hartman’s organization and its allies see other business interests at stake. They warn that passing the bill, and others like it, could make Kentucky the next North Carolina, a state which faced significant corporate backlash for overturning discrimination bans.

Republican Senator Julie Raque Adams aired the same concern during the 2016 session, saying she worried SB180 might have a "detrimental impact on critical and ongoing economic development efforts in my hometown of Louisville."

Other recent Kentucky bills have aimed to create separate marriage forms for straight and same-sex couples, usher in different marriage statuses, and mandate which bathrooms transgender students can use.

Though Hartman stops short of predicting the language that will emerge in future bills, he says GOP control of the legislature and the Governor's Mansion will put new pressure on gay rights groups.   

“While many Republicans do support us, some in the party are of a faction in which they have become more stringent on their anti-LGBT sentiments and their desire to create policy," he says. 


July 4, 2014

Supreme Judge Kennedy Strikes down ban on Gay Marriage and it has big significance


KENTUCKY- Republican-appointed federal judge ruled on July 1 that Kentucky's constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from the freedom to marry is unconstitutional. U. S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II was appointed by President George H. Bush in 1992 on the recommendation of then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Founder of Freedom to Marry, Evan Wolfson is pleased with the new advancement for total marriage equality for the United States.
"Today a Republican-appointed federal judge in Kentucky held - as have more than 20 other judges and as did the U.S. Supreme Court last year - that discriminatory state marriage bans are unconstitutional," Wolfson said. "It is wrong for the government to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry the person they love; a freedom that is part of every American's liberty and pursuit of happiness. Today's ruling in Kentucky underscores that America -- all of America -- is ready for the freedom to marry, and the Supreme Court should bring the country to national resolution as soon as possible."
This ruling follows a February ruling from the same judge who stated that Kentucky must respect legal marriages of same-sex couples pered outside of Kentucky. The case will be heard by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals onAugust 6, the same day they will hear the DeBoer v. Snyder case from Michigan.
"Sometimes, by upholding equal rights for a few, courts necessarily must require others to forebear some prior conduct or restrain some personal instinct," Heyburn wrote. "Here, that would not seem to be the case. Assuring equal protection for same-sex couples does not diminish the freedom of others to any degree.”
 Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said the state will appeal the decision.
Since the strike down of DOMA in 2013, 23 consecutive rulings have struck down state marriage bans as unconstitutional.
Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded highlighting how many LGBT couples will be affected by this ruling, pending the decision in August.
"The Bluegrass State now joins what is becoming a long list of states where same-sex couples can get married. According to the latest U.S. Census data, there are at least 7,195 same-sex couples living in Kentucky. This is an amazing development for the millions of people who long for the day when marriage equality is not a blue state or red state issue, but rather a right that is enjoyed in every part of these United States of America.”

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