Want to know why Kentucky doesn't have a statewide law banning discrimination against gay and lesbian people (the entire community, LGBTI) in employment, housing, credit, and accommodations? The answer is simple, Republicans in the Kentucky Senate always defeat the measure, most of the time without the legislation making it out of committee. (previous story)
However, equality and fairness may be closer than you think.
Long time anti-gay Senate President David Williams is slowly, but surely losing control of the Kentucky Senate. Why? Governor Steve Beshear keeps appointing them to executive positions within his cabinet, and under his control. One by one, Republicans are leaving the Kentucky Senate for higher paying jobs in the Executive Branch of Kentucky's Government, or the Judicial Branch.
Kentucky Democrats gained another chance Monday to increase their numbers in the GOP-led state Senate when Gov. Steve Beshear opened up a seat by appointing a longtime Republican senator to serve as a judge.
Beshear, a Democrat, appointed Sen. Dan Kelly to be circuit judge in Kentucky's 11th Judicial Circuit, which represents four counties southeast of Louisville. Republicans held a 20-17-1 lead - including one independent who tends to side with the GOP - in the state Senate before Kelly's departure.
"I made the decision based on his qualifications," Beshear said.
Senate President David Williams, a Burkesville Republican, had predicted that Beshear would appoint Kelly to the judicial vacancy. Williams said at the time Beshear was "poisoning" the state's political atmosphere by dangling jobs to lure Republicans out of the Senate.
Governor Beshear has helped Kentucky's LGBTI community, but he cannot do more (and neither can Senator Stein, Representative Tom Burch, and others until the Senate changes leadership). (previous story)
In Kentucky, you cannot be fired for being a smoker, but you can be fired for being gay......now THAT is cheating (what the Family Foundation of Kentucky called Kentucky Equality Federation’s coordination of the 2009 National Freedom to Marry Day in Kentucky). I'm sure the Family Foundation of Kentucky is biting their nails off since they are close to most Republicans in the Kentucky Senate, and almost always testify at Senate Committee hearings.
Look the the following statements below from your Kentucky elected lawmakers (source 1, source 2):
Homosexuality is aberrant behavior. - Senate President David Williams (R) (January 2008) (story, and argument with Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer)
It's OK to fire someone if they're gay. Historically, homosexuals haven't suffered. - Representative Joseph Fischer (R) (October 2006) (story 1, Kentucky Equality Federation leads protest against Statehouse Rep. Joe Fisher during election debate), and (story 2, Kentucky Equality Federation and Kentucky Fairness Alliance slam a Kentucky Representative)
The University of the Cumberlands stands for what is positive [by expelling a gay student]. - Senate President David Williams (R) (August 2006)
I don't want to entice any of those people [queers] into our state. Those are the wrong kind of people. – Senator Dick Roeding (R) (July 2006)
The Log Cabin Republican Club of Kentucky, a gay GOP group, "are nothing but a bunch of queers." - Senator Dick Roeding (R) (July 2006)
I wouldn't think that there would be a lot of support in the General Assembly for giving benefits to people that were involved in same-sex relationships. Doing so would be bad public policy. - Senate President David Williams (R) (July 2006)
I am committed to protecting traditional marriage. I proudly supported the Same-Sex Marriage Amendment proposal in Kentucky in 2004 and was pleased to see it pass with 74% of the vote. - U.S. Representative Geoff Davis (R) [part of Kentucky's Congressional delegation] (July 2006)
Since 2006, Kentucky Equality Federation, Kentucky Fairness Alliance, and the Louisville Fairness Campaign have trained people to lobby their elected officials in Frankfort for complete LGBTI equality; they have a rally in the Capitol Rotunda yearly in support of this.* (source)
Since pro-gay legislation always passes the Kentucky House of Representatives (the Democratic Party has a huge lead in the Kentucky House), will the same happen if Democrats re-take the Kentucky Senate?
Complete equality and fairness for our community could be closer than anyone thinks.
Support Kentucky's LGBTI organizations that lobby and fight for your rights!
* Special Note: The Lexington Chapter is Kentucky Fairness Alliance separated from the organization at some point in 2007 and is now called Lexington Fairness. Lexington Fairness also participated in the 2007 and 2009 lobbying and rallies.