Louisville, KY August 22, 2006 -- Kentucky Equality Federation* [formerly called Kentucky Equality Association, both names are registered with the Kentucky Secretary of State] members were verbally abused and refused service at a Steak n’ Shake in Louisville, KY because of their sexual orientation. Scott Kays and three of his friends entered the Steak n’ Shake at 3232 Bardstown Road at approximately 2:45 AM EST on August 21, 2006 and was told "fags you gotta go," after seating themselves according to Kays, an official, voting member of the Federation.
"I hope the citizens of the commonwealth truly see the discrimination the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community goes through," stated Jordan Palmer, president of Kentucky Equality. "We’ve had a student expelled from college, dedicated and patriotic citizens kicked out of the military, and intolerance based on sexual orientation and gender identity; this is not the equal treatment and representation this country was founded to represent."
The district manager for the Steak n' Shake on Bardstown Road told Kentucky Equality the company did not discriminate, and that the Bardstown Road location had a diverse staff.
Kentucky Equality Federation had planned to file a discrimination charges against the company, an action that has since been placed on hold pending the stores investigation into the incident. Kentucky Equality has been very satisfied and impressed with the level of cooperation and attentiveness to the issue from Steak n' Shake's corporate office.
Palmer also stated that though this incident does not reflect Stake n' Shake's corporate culture, is a perfect example of why legislation should be in place to protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the areas of housing, credit, public accommodations, and employment.
* Kentucky Equality Association changed its primary trade name to Kentucky Equality Federation on August 21, 2006 after becoming an official member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association.
UPDATE -- CONCLUSION: Kentucky Equality has been satisfied with Steak n' Shake's level of cooperation and attentiveness to the issue, intolerance based on sexual orientation and gender identity. All three corporate representatives have advised Kentucky Equality that the LGBT community is welcome in all of their locations.
Overall, the company has responded to our investigation and requests for information in a very friendly, positive fashion; they've been rather impressive.
Intolerance will follow us everywhere; we cannot allow one individual to undermine our efforts. From a "first look," if other companies leaped into action as quickly as they have, our work environments would be much, much better.
An additional update will be posted tomorrow.