civil rights

There’s still a chance to restore former felons’ right to vote this session.

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March 27, 2012
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Maybe it’s tacky to wholesale copy an action email from KFTC onto your blog, but this is important:

Thanks to the many members who have contacted Kentucky senators urging their support for House Bill 70, legislation supporting the automatic restoration of voting for most former felons once they have completed their sentence. We want to let you know where things stand with HB 70.

Your calls, emails, letters and face-to-face meetings with senators have made a difference. We have unprecedented momentum behind HB 70, and feel confident that we have the 23 votes needed in the Senate to get this proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. Despite this movement, however, we have no guarantee that there will be a hearing and vote in the Senate.

HB 70 is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee has been one of the busiest legislative committees in recent weeks, dealing with several high-profile issues. The committee met last Thursday, yesterday and again this afternoon, each time with seven or eight bills on their agenda (often the same bills). HB 70 has not been one of them.

Yesterday, committee chair Sen. Tom Jensen told a KFTC member there isn’t enough time left to get to HB 70 (this is the last regular week for the 2012 General Assembly). We believe otherwise – that if the political will is present there is enough time and opportunity to get HB 70 through the Senate.

Will you help us create some of that political will?

Take Action

Please contact Sen. Tom Jensen and Senate leaders (David Williams, Robert Stivers, Dan Seum, Carroll Gibson, R.J. Palmer, Johnny Ray Turner and Jerry Rhoads).

MESSAGE: There is still time to pass a good bill! Please bring HB 70 up for a hearing and vote.

You can call the Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181 and leave your message for Sen. Jensen and “Senate leadership.” If you’d like to speak to these senators directly (especially good to do if you’re a constituent), call 502-564-8100. To send an email,  you can find their email address or link to their online contact form here.

We’re currently one of only two states that still automatically disenfranchises former felons.  We can do better, Kentucky.

Ben Chandler defends marriage

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July 8, 2011
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The Republican Party, whom not very bright people say doesn’t use wedge issues anymore, added an amendment to a defense spending bill yesterday that reaffirms the Defense of Marriage Act. Because that has a great deal to do with defense spending.

The amendment passed overwhelmingly, with an extra unneeded boost from these 19 Democrats:

Additionally, 19 Democrats voted in favor of the amendment: Reps. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Dan Boren (D-Okla.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), Mark Critz (D-Pa.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), James Matheson (D-Utah), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Nich Rahall (D-W.V.), Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).

If you would like to contact Ben and thank him for protecting us from the homosexual agenda, here you go.

Grimes responds to Bill Johnson’s War on Homeless Veterans

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July 6, 2011
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GOP Secretary of State candidate Some Dude Named Bill Johnson upped the ante today on his ridiculous attack on the scourge of homeless people in Kentucky that are going to subvert our democracy, along with ACORN and the Mexicans.

“Frankly, I think Elaine Walker should resign and Alison Grimes is unfit for office if they think violating Kentucky law is appropriate. By making address exceptions for the homeless in violation of KRS 116.155, what other exceptions are they willing to make? Trust is important in our elected officials and those running for office. As a voter in Kentucky, my trust has been violated,” Johnson said in a release.

Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign responded correctly, pointing out that Bill Johnson has no earthly idea what he’s talking about:

“As a candidate for Secretary of State, Bill Johnson should know better,” Jonathan Hurst, a spokesman for Grimes’ campaign said in a statement. “The State Board of Elections, an independent bi-partisan agency, has been charged by the General Assembly to administer Kentucky’s election laws. To be eligible to vote, current state law requires that a voter: be 18 years old, be a Kentucky resident, be mentally competent, not registered to vote in other states, and not a convicted felon. Kentucky law does not require that one be a property owner to vote.”

Hurst said Grimes will work against voter fraud and said many veterans remain homeless, in one form or fashion. Hurst said those homeless veterans shouldn’t lose the right to vote.

“Kentuckians do not give up their rights as citizens because they are not property owners,” Hurst said in a statement. “Bill Johnson should check his facts before he tries to take away one’s most basic right – the right to vote. Indeed, all Kentuckians who meet the requirements of state law should have their votes protected and counted. Bill Johnson’s statement is disturbing, insensitive, and plays loose with the facts.”

What an incredible embarrassment Bill Johnson is. Expect the David Williams campaign to be smart enough not to touch this with a ten foot pole.

Bill Johnson probably shouldn’t cite USA Today when touting his Voter suppression ID plan

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July 1, 2011
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GOP Secretary of State candidate Some Dude Named Bill Johnson wants his Facebook followers to know that the “defining issue” in his race is whether or not Kentucky follows the national GOP strategy of enacting a voter ID laws. You know, the kind of voter ID law which will no doubt suppress the vote of young people, the elderly, the poor, and minorities. You know, so ACORN and the Mexicans stop their widespread “voter fraud”, of which there is zero evidence.

17 states now require picture ID to Vote. Just common sense in my view. This is a defining issue in this race since my opponent rejects such a measure. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-06-19-states-require-voter-ID_n.htm

I actually do agree with Bill Johnson that the voter ID issue is the “defining” one of the KY Secretary of State elections this year. What I don’t agree with is his ridiculous assertion that this voter suppression bill is needed, because of “ACORN and George Soros”.

You know who else disagrees with him? The editorial board of the USA Today, the newspaper that he cites on Facebook:

Our view: Republican ID laws smack of vote suppression

*****

Supporters say this is necessary to prevent voter fraud. But the operative question is: Why, at a time of economic distress and state budget shortfalls, is this such a priority? The answer has less to do with prevention than with suppression.

*****

Scratch just gently beneath the surface, and these new measures appear unnecessary at best. Voter fraud is rare and consists largely of the types of actions that IDs would not correct, such as vote-buying and voter intimidation. Fraud is already kept in check by elections officials, poll watchers from both parties, and acceptance of alternatives to photo IDs, such as utility bills.

One study in Minnesota, done after an extraordinarily close Senate race in 2008, found a grand total of seven suspicious votes, out of nearly 3 million cast. No charges were filed that year. Those seven cases were exceeded by the dozen or so elderly nuns in nearby Indiana who were turned away from the polls for lack of picture IDs.

*****

Just as Democrats try to help their cause by making it easier to vote through expedited registration and early voting, Republicans see a benefit in lowering the turnout among certain voters. The people most likely to be dissuaded by the hassle of obtaining an ID card — the old and infirm, the young and the poor — tend to vote Democratic. Shouldn’t Republicans be looking for ways to expand their appeal to these groups, rather than throwing obstacles in their way?

While both parties are guilty of self-interested behavior, the national interest of addressing the USA’s deplorably low election participation rates clearly falls on the side of making it easier, not harder, to vote.

Yeah, so you might want to consider linking to Fox News or the Heritage Foundation, Bill.

These bills clearly serve as a form of voter suppression, and this is also clearly a Republican tactic that is sweeping the nation:

And how surprising that Bill Johnson, when confronted with the reality that many low income people in Kentucky don’t have a photo ID, declares “too bad, get a job and afford it!” (7:18 mark in video below)

Well, at least he’s summarized the philosophy of 2011 Republicans. If only he could have fit ACORN, George Soros and the New Black Panther Party in that quote, then he’d really be on all cylinders.

So, is this really the “defining issue” in this race? You bet it is. Is this Secretary of State race important in Kentucky. You bet it is.

Berea delays vote on fairness ordinance

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June 22, 2011
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It looks like the citizens of Berea will have to wait a while longer before their council votes on whether they will continue to allow discrimination:

On Tuesday night, the Berea City Council announced it will take longer than expected to come to a decision about the possibility of a city fairness ordinance. The council has held public forums on the ordinance, which would prohibit discrimination in the workplace and housing market due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

“It’s a very serious issue,” says Diane Kerby, who serves on the council. ”One that deserves as much time as it needs to make sure that we’re making the right decision and that we consider all the various comments and support.”

Chris Hartman’s Fairness Campaign has lobbied for the ordinance. Although the decision will be delayed, he says he isn’t dismayed by the announcement.

“I’m not concerned that it’s not going to happen,” he says. ”Certainly I want the city to be certain that they’re moving in the right direction. It’s just the legislative process sometimes takes longer than I’d like.”

Well, that gives you a little more time to lobby your council members, Berea.

Ahem.

Berea Council to decide on fairness ordinance vote today

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June 20, 2011
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The Berea City Council will decide today on whether to vote on adopting a fairness ordinance. If Berea adopts the ordinance, that would make them the fourth city in Kentucky to do so (along with the Godless gay-loving cities Louisville, Lexington and Covington).

Berea had its final public forum on the matter last week, in which they were presented with some more lovely logic from advocates of discrimination and fearmongering:

“We have a wonderful community,” Jeff Osborne, pastor of Berea Evangelistic Church, said before the hearing. “To see mostly outsiders pushing this agenda in this direction, creating a rift that’s not been here before, … it grieves me.”

“I don’t hate nobody,” he added. “I didn’t ask for this struggle.”

*****

“We hear a lot of about ‘What would Jesus do?’ “I’ll tell you what Jesus would do— he’d keep his word,” said Donald Vanwinkle, who said the city was exposing itself to potential lawsuits if it sought to protect “sexual deviation.”

Fortunately, as WFPL reports, the “outside agitators” outnumbered the bigots at the forum 35-11. We’ll see today if it will come to the full Council for a vote, which very well may make Berea the only dry city in America to also pass a fairness ordinance on its own.

So we’ll see if Berea remains a city, like Hazard, where gay people can legally be kicked out of public places and told to “read the Bible”. Not the “love thy neighbor” and “due unto others” parts, I’m guessing.

Bigots defend discrimination at Berea public forum on fairness ordinance

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May 11, 2011
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The Berea, KY city council held their public forum last night on a possible fairness ordinance in the city, which the religious right used to express their “concerns“:

“I’m not aware of intolerance,” he said. “I think it’s more about favoritism. You’re imposing the ideas of a few people upon the rights of others. … It’s going to hurt our communities. It’s going to hurt our families. It’s not a good thing.”

*****

“Freedom isn’t fair, and a stifling fairness isn’t free,” he said.

*****

Jaime Morris said that if a gay couple wanted to rent a residence from her, she should have the right to refuse.

“I have two small children,” she said. “I should be able to say ‘no.’”

Yes, because everyone knows that if a gay person lives next to you, they will either molest your child or recruit them into the homosexual lifestyle. GRRRR.

Fortunately, there were plenty of people there to advocate against discrimination and for basic civil rights.

Phillip Bailey of WFPL interviewed the Fairness Campaign’s Chris Hartman about the meeting, which you should go listen to now.

We welcome you to join us into the 21st century, Berea, it’s a lovely place. And if Kentucky wants to join Louisville, Lexington and Covington next year by passing a statewide fairness ordinance… well, I guess you’d shock me and I’d take down the Twain quote for good.

Berea, KY to consider fairness ordinance tomorrow night

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May 9, 2011
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If you live in Berea and think that gay people should not be discriminated against in employment, housing, and public accommodations, head down to your city council meeting tomorrow night at 6:30 and let them know how you feel. It’s time to follow Lexington, Louisville and Covington into the wonderful world of the 21st century.

Here’s the what/where/when from the Kentucky Fairness Alliance:

Tomorrow, members of the Berea City Council will again be holding a public forum to consider the establishment of a Berea City Human Rights Commission as well as an amendment to the local ordinance to extend protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations to individuals based upon sexual orientation and gender identity. We want to ask you to join KFA, and supporters of Fairness to attend this historic meeting where Berea has the potential to join other cities like Louisville, Lexington, and Covington in protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The City Council needs to hear that these matters are important to Berea residents. Bring your family, friends, and pro-Fairness allies with you to show support. Public comments will be heard by members of the City Council.

What: Berea City Council Public Forum

When: TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 10th 6:30 PM

Where: 1st floor of the Police and Municipal Building, 314 Chestnut Street, Berea, KY

Quick Hit: What We Do Is Secret

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February 15, 2011
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In case anyone is wondering what went down at the Creation Museum on Friday night, other than the whole hating teh gays thing, I offer you a teaser: Two heathen hetero couples entered without incident (more or less) and enjoyed a delightful meal followed by some songs and jokes by the evening’s entertainment. At least one of those couples also fornicated in several un-Christian fashions afterward. (Pretty sure the “gay couple” didn’t even give each other HJs.)

If you want to support the work done here, please chip in to B&P here or here. Thanks!

P.S.: LOVE

No same sex couples allowed at the Creation Museum Date Night (UPDATE)

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February 12, 2011
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I rushed back from DC to my old Kentucky home last night to attend the spectacular “Date Night at the Creation Museum“, where my date and I were to take in a nice dinner and listen to Ken Ham explain what makes a good relationship work.

Unfortunately, we were told at the door that we would not be allowed entry.

They explained to us (my friends, I arrived after them) that the Creation Museum Date Night was a “Christian environment”, therefore the presence of two men eating dinner together would not be allowed. The very sight of this would “add an un-Christian element to the event” and “disrupt the evening for everyone”.

Times have changed, I guess.

The Creation Museum rep further informed us that you cannot be a Christian if you are gay, asking “can you tell me what exactly is Christian about being gay?”. How can you argue with that logic?

When asked for the refund on our tickets, which were purchased in advance, he informed us that there would be no refund, since it said explicitly on their Website that “no gay couples would be permitted to attend their Date Night”. That is certainly an interesting admission, despite the fact that it isn’t true:

The Better Business Bureau has already been contacted.

And remember, these are the very same people that are claiming that they will not discriminate in hiring for their new Dineysore Ark Park in order to receive $40 million in tax breaks from our fearless leader, Governor Steve Beshear. This, despite the fact that their job advertisements for Ark Encounter explicitly state that applicants must sign a Christian oath purity pledge. And can you really expect Ken Ham to hire a gay employee and pay them money, when they won’t even accept money from two men to attend their business, because the appearance of possible Gayness would make their heads explode?

Of course not. This is who they are.

Anyway, the great irony is that while two men were not allowed to attend the Creation Museum last night, guess who they are welcoming with open arms today? None other than Jeffrey Bornhoeft, a lovely fellow making his first trip out of Ohio since the time that he shot his ex-wife’s husband three times in the head 11 years ago. Jeffrey is OK though, because he’s totally not into dudes.

So I unfortunately was not able to hear Ken Ham’s speech, the musical stylings of Ray Cummins, and the observe the rest of the evening. It’s a shame, I would have liked to share that with you. However, some friends of ours that you all know were there for the dinner and festivities, and you’ll be hearing from them shortly about all the fun going on in the 100% heterosexual Date Night at the Creation Museum.

UPDATE: One of those friends was Jonathan Meador of LEO. Here’s his account of what happened before he and his ladyfriend gained entry.

UPDATE 2: As I mentioned in the original post and pointed to in Meador’s detailed account, my friends got there before I did. There is a difference between “us” and “me”. Ken Ham decided to not allow us entry because he didn’t want two men eating together, because he is bigot, as much as he tries to pretend he isn’t one in order to get his $40 million hand out from the taxpayers of Kentucky. Go ride on your saddled dinosaur for a spell until you come to this realization.

UPDATE 3: A big thanks to Ken Ham for directing his readers our way! This is just the kind of boost we need to increase our advertising revenue! You’re all contributing money to un-Christian flamboyance while God is watching you, bwahahaha!

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