September 6, 2015

Kim Davis Won't Resign, Plans to Appeal Contempt Ruling

Morehead, KY (By Micheal Inzaghi) - Kim Davis can either let her deputy clerks issue the licenses or gay couples can travel to other offices, he says.

“She’s being held in contempt because she’s refusing to follow a district court decision in a suit to which she is a party, holding that same-sex couples have a right to obtain marriage licenses from her”, Vladek said.

With Davis still in jail for contempt over her refusal to issue marriage licenses, others in her office did begin issuing the documents today in Rowan County, after pledging they would do so under oath in a federal courtroom Thursday. “She may be the example that sparks a firestorm of resistance across this country”.

“What we end up having is the first example of the criminalization of a Christian for believing in the traditional definition of marriage“, Huckabee told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” Friday.

“God is going to continue to bless Kim Davis“, Steele said before leading the group in prayer. “The County Clerk has presented her position through the federal court system, all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court“. Who will be next?

And what of religious liberty? And it’s not just mine, it’s also Justice Roberts’ opinion. A hearing on the motion is set for Thursday.

“It is not a light issue for me”.

He said the governor could issue an executive order to solve the problem.

A lawyer for Davis – Mat Staver – responded on Friday by saying that the licenses issued without her consent are void. The process could involve a notary public who does not object to the law.

The Kentucky Equality Federation, which campaigns on gay rights, said Davis’ religious beliefs were “incompatible with the elected office she holds”, and called for her to be impeached. Minister Jordan Palmer the secretary-general of the federation said the situation is analogous to [Kentucky] Governor Steve Beshear refusing to aid a region of the Commonwealth during a disaster because they are Methodist, Catholic, or they voted for a different political party.

Palmer added "It is similar to a clerk refusing to issue driver's licenses to taxpayers of a certain gender because they don't believe they are religiously permitted to drive. Would we tolerate a governor or president who refused to repel an invasion or defend the lives they have sworn to safeguard?"

One question that remains is if these licenses will remain valid after Davis is out of jail.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has struggled for attention in the crowded 2016 contest, lashed out at Trump on Twitter. “Even really rich New Yorkers should oppose jailing Christians for their religious beliefs”.

Ryan Anderson, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based conservative think tank, said the state legislature should remove clerks’ names from the licenses as Davis has asked.

“In the majority of states … you could be married on Saturday, post your Facebook pictures on Sunday and be fired from your job or kicked out of your apartment on Monday”, he said.

Supporter David Baugus said he came out to keep his voice alive. “So you know, it’s a very tough situation”.

PRESS EXAMINER: http://www.pressexaminer.com/kim-davis-won-t-resign-plans-to-appeal-contempt-ruling/73175



September 5, 2015

Why hasn't Rowan County Kentucky clerk been fired in gay marriage license case?

LOUISVILLE — A Rowan County, Ky., clerk has continued to defy a Supreme Court ruling that she issue marriage licenses to gay couples. On Tuesday, Kim Davis said she was acting under "God's authority" when she refused to issue the licenses.

Lawyers for the couples have asked a federal judge to hold her in contempt of court.

The Supreme Court refused Monday to allow Davis' office to deny the licenses because of her religious beliefs. However, on Tuesday, she turned away at least four couples.

Here are some answers to key questions surrounding the case.

Question: Why hasn’t Kim Davis been fired for refusing to issue marriage licenses and defying court orders?

Answer: She is an elected official and can only be removed from office for impeachment.

Q: How would she be impeached?

A: The Kentucky House of Representatives would have to charge her with an impeachable offense and the Senate would then try her.

Q: Is that likely?

A: The Kentucky Equality Federation, a gay rights group, has called for Gov. Steve Beshear to call a special session of the General Assembly to pursue impeachment. But Beshear, citing costs, has already declined to convene a special session to consider emergency legislation that would accommodate Davis and other clerks by having state government issue marriage licenses. Also, Bluegrass Polls show most Kentucky voters oppose gay marriage and support accommodating Davis. Beshear declined to comment Tuesday.

Still Kentucky Equality Federation's secretary-general, Minister Jordan Palmer says Davis violated the oath of office and also called for her resignation "if she cannot complete her job because of religious beliefs". Minister Palmer later called the situation similar to a clerk refusing to issue driver's licenses to taxpayers of a certain gender because they don't believe they are religiously permitted to drive.

Q: Can Davis be charged with a crime?

A: After being denied a license four times, a gay couple has asked the Rowan County attorney to charge her with official misconduct, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. But citing a conflict of interest — he is defending the county in suits naming Davis — he referred the request to the attorney general’s office, which is deciding whether to appoint a special prosecutor.

Q: What happens next?

A: The two gay and straight couples who sued Davis have asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning to find her in contempt of court. A hearing is set for Thursday morning in Ashland, Ky.

Q: What punishment could she get for that?

A: Bunning could jail or fine her, but the plaintiffs are seeking only monetary penalties, apparently to avoid engendering sympathy for her in jail. Bunning could order her to pay the fines out of her own pocket, rather than with taxpaper money.

Q: Does Davis have any options left?

A: She can still pursue her appeal in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, but her bids to delay compliance ran out Monday night when the Supreme Court denied her a stay.

Q: Could local officials try to remove her?

A: Kentucky law allows a commonwealth’s attorney to indict county judges-executives, justices of the peace, sheriffs, coroners, surveyors, jailers, county attorneys and constables for malfeasance in office or willful neglect in the discharge of official duties, for which they can be fined up to $1,000 and removed from office upon conviction. But for some reason lost to history, the statute doesn’t include county clerks.

Q: What are Davis’ grounds for refusing to comply with court orders?

A: She says that to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples, on which her name would be signed, conflicts with God’s definition of marriage and would violate her conscience. She says her religious liberty should be protected under the Kentucky and U.S. Constitutions and the Kentucky Religious Freedom Act.

Sources: Kentucky Constitution and Kentucky Revised Statutes. Louisville lawyer Sheryl Snyder and University of Kentucky law professors Allison Connelly and Scott Bauries.

USA TODAY LINK: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/09/02/qa-ky-clerk-gay-marriage-license-case/71567812/

THE TIMES LINK: http://www.suffieldtimes.com/us/qa-why-hasnt-ky-clerk-been-fired-in-gay-marriage-license-case/83392/

10 News Tampa (CBS): http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/2015/09/02/why-hasnt-ky-clerk-been-fired-gay-marriage-license-case/71579922/

Original story contributors: Andrew Wolfson, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal, and Mike Wynn, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal.

September 4, 2015

Gay Couple Gets Marriage License In Kentucky After Clerk Goes To Jail

Morehead, Ky (By: Alex Crown) - Rowan County clerk Kim Davis has been summoned to the hearing at 11 a.m. Thursday before U.S. District Judge David Bunning. “Just because five Supreme Court judges make a ruling, it’s not a law”, she said.

“Last night Kim Davis was incarcerated in a jail cell while the rest of us slept in our comfortable beds”. She attends Solid Rock Apostolic Church in the county seat of Morehead.

A fourth gay couple planned to obtain a licence in the afternoon. He said Davis’ efforts are misguided.

Davis said she’s a different person since becoming a Christian 4½ years ago. “The county clerk has presented her position through the federal court system, all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court".

“Kim Davis is being treated as a criminal because she can not violate her conscience”.

The couple had previously been denied one five times. Miller said she and Roberts will get a license, “show that piece of paper off for a minute or two”, then go home and try to resume a quiet life together, without court appearances and reporters calling at all hours.

There’s no sign Davis is getting out of jail soon. Their attorneys, along with Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins, said the licenses are valid. Not all the Republican White House hopefuls see it Huckabee’s way.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday authorities should have found a compromise to keep Davis out of jail.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said he will allow any legal consequences which are prescribed to clerks who choose not to issue the marriage licenses. Davis’ name does not appear on the licenses.

A second gay couple has arrived at a Kentucky clerk’s office to apply for a marriage license.

The sixth deputy clerk, Davis’ son Nathan, would not agree to issue licences, but he was not jailed. The Longs did not respond, and a worker told the man to leave.

The Kentucky Equality Federation's secretary-general, Minister Jordan Palmer, which campaigns on gay rights, said Davis’ religious beliefs were “incompatible with the elected office she holds”, and called for her to be impeached during a telephone interview.

In a prepared statement Palmer stated:
"The fact is, Davis is not in prison because of her beliefs. She is being held in contempt of court because she refuses to resolve the job taxpayers elected her to perform and has broken her oath of office. She could easily resign and end the entire situation, but I suspect the national spotlight is truly the motivation. The office of an elected official is a public trust, not a personal platform for refusing service to the "wrong" sort of people; this reeks of the oppression of far-off lands where officials can make discriminatory rules and enforce summary judgement against certain classes, genders, orientations, races, and castes.
We are all equal before the law, and we encourage Davis to do the right thing, embrace the standard of public service (as she swore an oath to do), and comply with Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate's ruling in Kentucky Equality Federation v. Commonwealth of Kentucky and the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court."
As Yates and Smith left the building, supporters chanted “Love has won!”

The “bulk of them” would likely be from Rowan County, an area of more than 23,300 people, said Palmer.

“She has no intention to resign”, he said. He said it would be up to same-sex couples to decide whether to test the validity of the licenses.

At 8:30 this morning, James Yates stepped out of the Rowan County Courthouse and rushed across the steps to hug his mom.

But American Civil Liberties Union attorneys contended Davis has no legal basis to avoid performing her duties as a government clerk.

Her defiance of the court order has drawn national attention.

LIDTIME.COM: http://www.lidtime.com/gay-couple-gets-marriage-license-in-kentucky-after-clerk-goes-to-jail-1429/

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES: http://www.ibtimes.com/rowan-county-gay-marriage-update-couples-receive-marriage-licenses-kim-davis-office-2083640

Kim Davis Supporters Will Have a Hard Time Raising Money Online

By Aryan Marshall

Given the culture war brouhaha surrounding Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, it’s no wonder there are people itching to write her checks. For some, the Apostolic Christian is something of a martyr, sacrificing her personal freedoms to take a stand against same-sex marriage. After a federal judge Thursday held Davis in contempt of court and sent her to jail, that perception has only grown.

But Davis supporters are going to have a hard time raising money online.

That’s because the popular crowdfunding site GoFundMe has a specific policy against supporting those facing charges of discrimination.

Here’s the policy, added to the website in April of this year:
GoFundMe will not allow campaigns that benefit individuals or groups facing formal charges or claims of serious violations of the law.
The amendedment can be found under the ‘What’s Not Allowed’ section of our terms, as well as below:
Campaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts
That’s you, Kim! And it appears that GoFundMe has stuck to its guns: As of writing, there are no fundraising campaigns for Davis on the site.

Davis’ huge and money-savvy network of supporters is part of the reason U.S. District Judge David Bunning decided to send the county clerk to jail. After Davis testified Thursday that the Liberty Counsel, a Christian public interest law firm, had already begun collecting money on her behalf, “Bunning rejected the possibility” of fining her instead, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Of course, there’s still big money in the high-profile media circus, not least for the 2016 presidential nominees who have come out as Davis supporters. Republicans Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have gone on record as strong Davis advocates. You can bet her plight will become the focus of their own fundraising campaigns.

Meanwhile, those still to donate online can head to CrowdRise, where organizers are raising money for a Kim Davis Miracle Makeover. All proceeds will go to the LGBT stylists who will help the county clerk with her transformation—and should she refuse their help, to the Kentucky Equality Federation.

Minister Jordan Palmer, secretary-general of the Kentucky Equality Federation alliance stated:
We are all equal before the law, and we encourage Davis to do the right thing, embrace the standard of public service (as she swore an oath to do), and comply with Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate's ruling in Kentucky Equality Federation v. Commonwealth of Kentucky and the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court. She is being held in contempt of court because she refuses to resolve the job taxpayers elected her to perform and has broken her oath of office. She could easily resign and end the entire situation, but I suspect the national spotlight is truly the motivation.
The office of an elected official is a public trust, not a personal platform for refusing service to the "wrong" sort of people; this reeks of the oppression of far-off lands where officials can make discriminatory rules and enforce summary judgement against certain classes, genders, orientations, races, and castes.
Calls to Joshua Koch the president of the Kentucky Public Advocate Service, a Kentucky Equality Federation member was not immediately returned.

PADUCAH: http://isurfpaducah.com/2015/09/05/gay-couple-gets-marriage-license-in-kentucky-after-clerk/ 

GOOD MAGAZINE: http://magazine.good.is/articles/kim-davis-supporters-will-have-a-hard-time-raising-money-online 

NEWS ROOM: http://tvnewsroom.org/newslines/u-s/despite-ruling-kentucky-gay-couple-denied-marriage-license-for-the-third-time-107834/

August 30, 2015

Session asked to impeach Rowan clerk

Courier-Journal Logo
The Kentucky Equality Federation, an agency that supports what it calls "marriage equality," issued a plea Saturday for Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to call a special session of the General Assembly to pursue impeachment of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.

Minister Jordan Palmer, secretary-general of the federation, issued a release contending that actions of Davis to deny marriage licenses to gay couples defies Kentucky and U.S. court rulings.

Palmer said, "This violates the oath of office taken by Kim Davis and, if she cannot complete her job because of religious beliefs, then she should resign. Government is free of religion and religious beliefs. Perhaps Ms. Davis would be happier in a religious state such as Afghanistan, Iran, or Iraq."

Rowan County Clerk Davis has asked Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan to stay enforcement of a federal court ruling requiring Rowan to issue marriage licences to gay couples.

In an emergency application, Davis asks Kagan to delay Judge David Bunning’s order while her appeal is being considered by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court, which refused to issue a stay.

The application was filed with Kagan because she considers such requests from Kentucky and the three other states in the 6th Circuit.

Kagan voted with the 5-4 majority in June that required all states to recognize same-sex marriages.

Subscribe to the Courier-Journal: http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2015/08/29/session-asked-impeach-rowan-clerk/71389770/

August 29, 2015

Folks rally outside Rowan County Courthouse

WYMT-TV Logo
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WKYT-TV and WYMT-TV) - Another fairness rally was held outside of the Rowan County Courthouse Saturday as the clerk there continues to not issue marriage licenses.

Several couples who have been denied marriage licenses were at the rally.

WKYT-TV Logo
Kim Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses after the United States Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage back in June.

"Oh we jumped up and down we were so happy that night," said Karen Roberts. "We are really proud of our country and our nation and we were really excited to be able to finally get legally married," added April Miller

However, their excitement quickly changed when they were denied a license in their hometown on June 30th.

"I was angry about that...I felt ostracized and I felt marginalized," explained Miller.

Those feelings are some of the reasons why for every single day the courthouse is open, the Rowan County Rights Coalition has been outside. Working to support those who have been turned away which is not only limited to same sex couples.

"We are a heterosexual couple. I've had the right to get married for the past 100 years," said Joey Fernandez.

Many couples of these couples say they've been told to go somewhere else.

"I don't live there I don't pay my taxes there. My taxes are paid here and pay her salary," said Roberts. Miller added, "We have never had to go somewhere else to pay our car licenses."

Saturday's rally came the day after a flurry of new appeals, filings, and rulings in the case of Kim Davis. That includes an official misconduct complaint against her has been referred to the attorney general from the county attorney.

Davis' office was scheduled to be open on Saturday, however was closed with a sign on the door asking those who were expecting it to be open and "inconvenienced" to leave their name.

Davis did file an emergency application asking the United States Supreme Court to review her appeal. She also filed paperwork asking a U.S. District Court Judge to extend her temporary stay a request that was quickly denied.

Also at Saturday's rally a transgender couple claiming Kim Davis unknowingly issued them a marriage license.

Camryn Colen, who is transgender, says he and his wife Alexis were married February 26th. Camryn says he was born female and when going to apply for the marriage license was not asked to show any identification.

"It was issued, they were married that day. It was filed so in all actuality she married a gay couple," explained Mary Hargis, with the Rowan County Rights Coalition.

On Saturday afternoon, the Kentucky Equality Federation released a statement, asking that Governor Beshear call a special session to impeach Davis.

"Today, we call on Governor Steve Beshear to call a Special Session of the Kentucky General Assembly to impeach the Rowan County Clerk. The action of the Clerk defies Kentucky and U.S. Court rulings. This violates the oath of office taken by Kim Davis and if she cannot complete her job because of "religious beliefs" then she should resign. Government is free of religion and religious beliefs. Perhaps Ms. Davis would be happier in a religious state such as Afghanistan, Iran, or Iraq." - Minister Jordan Palmer, Secretary-General of Kentucky Equality Federation and its member organization, Marriage Equality Kentucky.

"Kentucky Equality Federation attorneys are working now to file a lawsuit in Kentucky Courts." On April 16, 2015 Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate struck-down Kentucky's 2004 Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in the Commonwealth of Kentucky stating, "Kentucky's statutory and constitutional bans on same-sex marriage void and unenforceable for violating Plaintiff and Plaintiff's Members Constitutional Rights."

Subscribe to WYMT and/or WKYT: http://www.wkyt.com/wymt/home/headlines/Folks-rally-outside-Rowan-County-Courthouse-323336311.html

April 12, 2015

Kentucky Religious Freedom Bill: Two Years Later

Eighteen other states have laws similar to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana. That includes Kentucky, which passed its bill in 2013. Lawmakers had to override a veto from Governor Beshear to pass it.

We all have our beliefs.

"I believe in the 1st Amendment for one thing, and I believe in the protection of religious freedoms," says State Sen. Joe Bowen, R - Daviess County. Bowen, who voted for Kentucky's religious freedom bill, believed more was needed to protect religious freedoms.

"States have their own issues, and people are advocates for state's rights, and for states taking a stand on different issues, whether they be of social nature, a fiscal nature, or an economic nature," he says.

The law, passed two years ago, says the state government can't burden a person's freedom of religion, protecting a person's right to act or refuse based on a sincerely held religious belief.

Since then, a Kentucky Commission on Human Relations report shows there were 13 cases of religious discrimination statewide reported to them last fiscal year, an increase from 6 in 2013, but officials say they're unsure of any correlation between the rise and the law.

Officials with the Kentucky Equality Federation say there were fears with the bill giving people right to legally discriminate. But no complaints based on the law have been filed with them so far.

"We had promised the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and the Governor's Office that, if we had any cases where people were discriminated against because of this bill, and it was not constitutional to discriminate, and thus far, we have not received any complaints," says Jordan Palmer of the Kentucky Equality Federation.

NEWS LINK: http://www.tristatehomepage.com/story/d/story/kentucky-religious-freedom-bill-two-years-later/21943/77j1kD9bp0KXBklCY2qUMQ

February 26, 2015

Senate committee passes amended transgender bill

Messenger, The (Madisonville, KY) - The Senate Education Committee has revisited a bill that would require transgender students to use bathrooms matching their biological sex.

"We didn't know that it was going to happen until about 30 seconds before it did," he continued. "When the bill's 
sponsor, Sen. C.B. Embry, came into the room, it was clear they were going to revote on the bill, and they did."

The "Kentucky Student Privacy Act" originally included language allowing students to sue their school $2,500 each time they found a person of the opposite biological gender in a bathroom or locker room.

The bill was amended prior to the committee vote Feb. 19, deleting that measure and its emergency provision.

"They did eliminate the bounty, because people made their voices heard," Hartman said. "They don't even know what they are trying to legislate right here. Is it an emergency or not? Can you sue the school or not?"

Embry filed a draft of the bill given to him by the Kentucky Family Foundation, he said in a previous report.

The bill was pieced together following a controversy at Atherton High School in Louisville, where a transgender student born male and identifying as female wanted to use the girls' bathrooms and locker rooms.

"(The Kentucky Family Foundation) received a number of contacts from parents (of students from Atherton High School) who are concerned about the issue and felt that it should be addressed," he said in the report.

"I think we should make an accommodation where transgender students are not put into a situation where they are causing other people to be uneasy," he continued. "Seems like common sense to have boys use the boys' restroom and girls use the girls' restroom."

Kent Ostrander, the executive director of the Family Foundation of Kentucky, said he is not surprised the bill passed. "Two of the committee members had been involved in medical emergencies the week before," he said. "The chairman recognized that there were members that wanted that bill, so he had it reheard."

In a statement released Monday evening, a coalition of Kentucky pro-LGBT groups noted that three senators, including two who voted against the bill Feb. 19, were missing from Monday's vote, according to a report from the Huffington Post.

"This bill gives local school districts all the latitude they need to deal fairly and responsibility with protection for all the students including transgenders," Ostrander said. "We think it is a good deal and that most parents want that."


If the bill passes through the Senate, it will most likely move to the House Education Committee next, according to Jordan Palmer, the president and founder of the Kentucky Equality Federation.

"I would say it has a very good chance of passing the committee, simply because Democrats can't afford to be soft on these issues, or they are going to continue to lose seats in the House," he said.

Palmer said the bill sends a "very negative message" to transgender students.

"It sends the message that there is something wrong with them, when in fact there is nothing wrong with them," he said. "I don't know what it's like to be born into a body that tells me I'm something else.

"At the same time, it is my job as a community member and a community leader to support and not to judge," he continued. "I don't understand it, but just because I don't understand it doesn't mean that I condemn it or that I'm afraid of it," he added. Conducting an unannounced revote on the bill was an "underhanded" move to keep opposition at bay, Palmer said.

"It will be very different in the house," he said. "The house will take a lot of public opinion and they will hear a lot of testimony, because Speaker (Greg) Stumbo will ensure that they do."

The Messenger was unable to contact Embry on Wednesday.

January 30, 2015

Transgender school-bathroom use petition circulating at North

A Madisonville-North Hopkins High School student has created a petition asking the school district to accommodate transgender students with regard to the use of school restrooms.

The petition, which currently has more than 50 signatures, demands that transgender students have the right to use the bathroom of their choosing, rather than a handicap bathroom the students are being asked to use.

The petition also insists that school staff call transgender students by their chosen pronoun, 17-year-old Ashley Marks, the petition's author and a transgender student at the school, said.

'Transgender students have to use the handicap bathroom and we don't agree with that,' he said. 'They should be able to use the bathroom of their choice.'

MNHHS student Justice Mitchell, 17, said she has friends who are transgender, and she has signed the petition because she does not agree with current bathroom procedures.

'I think (transgender students) should use the bathroom that they want to,' Mitchell said. 'I don't like the way people treat them. It's not 
fair to treat someone badly because they aren't like you.'

The 'Kentucky Student Privacy Act,' a bill introduced into the senate Jan. 9 by Sen. C.B. Embry Jr., R-Morgantown, would ban transgender students from using school restrooms and locker rooms that don't fit their anatomical sex.

The bill, SB76, also allows students to sue the school $2,500 each time they find a person of the opposite biological gender in a bathroom or locker room.

'The Kentucky Family Foundation gave me the draft and I filed it on their behalf,' Embry said. 'Reportedly, they have received a number of contacts from parents (of students from Atherton High School in Louisville) who are concerned about the issue and felt that it should be addressed.'

Kent Ostrander, the executive director of the Family Foundation of Kentucky, said the school's policies were problematic. 'On one hand, the school is correct in wanting to be sensitive to a student that is conflicted, or determining their gender identity,' he said, 'but on the other hand, the solution they came up with violates the privacy rights of every other student.' In the Hopkins County School District, there are no policies regarding the use of school bathrooms by transgender students, according to Communications and Community Engagement Specialist Lori Harrison.

'It is unchartered territory,' Hopkins County Schools Superintendent Linda Zellich said. 'To my knowledge, there's not any law regulating that right now. As individual students present things to us, we're going to deal with them individually.' Zellich said she had not seen the petition as of Thursday evening.

'I got in a lot of trouble at my school for starting this petition,' Marks said. 'I got called to the principal's office because I sent an email around to all my teachers asking them for their help. Multiple school officials were asking me questions about it.

'They kept telling me it wasn't an interrogation, but it seemed like one,' he continued. 'I don't think they understand the concept of what I am trying to do. One of them didn't even know what transgender meant. He had to Google it in front of me.' Zellich was aware that MNHHS staff spoke with a student about the petition, she said.

'I have not talked to a student,' Zellich said. 'I do not want to say much more than that because I don't want to violate any students' rights. I just don't feel comfortable doing that. I think we just have to deal with them as they come to us. 'Our first job is to see they get an education, but we want them to get that education in a safe environment and we have to protect the rights of all children as best we can,' she continued. 'If that is what that child wants, then they have to let it be known.'

If a student organizes a meeting with a principal about an issue, Zellich said she expects that principal to present the information to her.

'If that didn't occur, then I would expect the child or the child's parents to make contact with me so we can work through it,' she said. 'That is what works best for everybody — one-on-one conversations — because we can talk about more things.' The proposed bill could potentially increase school bullying, according to Jordan Palmer, the president and founder of the Kentucky Equality Federation, which is a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

'If you are a man dressed like a woman and you are going into a man's bathroom, what are the other students going to think?' he said. 'I think that they are just trying to put a patch on something that is a greater issue. They are looking at it only from a heterosexual point of view and they can't do that.

'It's a double-edged sword,' he continued. 'We've condemned the legislation, but at the same time we find ourselves in agreement with (Embry's) comment that there is no perfect solution. I don't think that there will be a perfect solution until they have bathrooms specifically for trans people.'

Embry has only received emails complaining about transgender bathroom policies from females and parents of students, he said. 'I think we should make an accommodation where transgender students are not put into a situation where they are causing other people to be uneasy,' Embry said. 'Seems like common sense to have boys use the boys' restroom and girls use the girls' restroom. Accommodations should be made for others. We don't want them to have any problems either.'

Ostrander agreed.

'(Transgender students) are not the ‘boogeyman,'' he said. 'You know young people. Young people are all foolish. We've all been there. Who would be harassed more? A transgender student who is coming out of a third bathroom that is earmarked for them, or a transgender male coming out of a woman's bathroom?'

Students Palmer has spoken with are 'terrified' that Embry's bill will become law, he said.

'We had a trans female that looks like a male — with facial hair and everything — say that he would not feel comfortable in, and would not go into, a ladies' restroom,' Palmer said. 'As a gay male with a lot of trans friends, I can relate to the psychological torture that they go through. It's not easy for them.

'Their body is telling them one thing and their mind is telling them another,' he continued. 'I have a very close friend that is female and he tapes his breasts down. He doesn't want anyone to see them. He has blood clots from taping his breasts to his body so tightly. He is so ashamed of them he says there are days he just wants to die because he has them.'

Two weeks ago, Marks said he overdosed on medication due to harassment from students at MNHHS.

'I was sent to Deaconess Hospital for a week because I was suicidal,' Marks said. 'Kids were harassing me and my friends on the Internet. My mom is having trouble accepting me for who I am, and my dad is really religious. Since I've been out of the hospital, they've both been more accepting of me. It took that to get it.'

Marks disagrees with government imposed fines related to SB76, he said.

'I think it is disrespectful that you can sue because you saw someone in a restroom,' Marks said. 'You don't see body parts as it is. What they do and what restroom they want to use is no one's business but their own.'

The $2,500 fine would be 'inflicted against the school,' not the student, Embry said.

'If school administrators chose not to obey it and to allow things to go on as presently, in opposition to the law, then the school would be subject to fines,' he said. 'The transgender student would not be subject to the fine. Nothing is aimed at that person. It would be at the school for not obeying the law.'

Zellich is aware of Embry's proposed bill, she said.

'I just have to wait and see what the final outcome is,' Zellich said. 'If there becomes specific language that we must as a school system do, then I'm obligated under the law to apply that law to the best of my ability.'

Embry said he believes the issue needs to be discussed 'with both sides present.'

'Then there would be a better understanding of everyone's viewpoints,' he said.

Palmer agreed.

'If they want to file legislation like that, what they should do is get representatives from organizations like Kentucky Equality Federation, Marriage Equality Kentucky, and Lexington Fairness and have a hearing on that issue,' he said. 'We're also talking about the same House and Senate that has never had a hearing on a statewide equality law, so … it will never happen.'

June 11, 2013

Richmond gay-rights activist Scottie Wayne Saltsman dies at 44

Scottie Wayne Saltsman, 44, of Richmond, who had been honored as Ambassador of Goodwill by the Kentucky Equality Federation last week, died Sunday of cancer.

Mr. Saltsman was a former Kentucky State police officer and had been a supervisor at the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training and a law enforcement instructor at Eastern Kentucky University, his alma mater.

He was co-chair of the Bluegrass Chapter of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance and volunteered for various other fairness organizations and movements.

Mr. Saltsman had been secretary of the Richmond Human Rights Commission but resigned last year when the commission refused to extend protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer said goodwill ambassador is the organization's highest honor.

David Corbett, chairperson of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, said Mr. Saltsman "did everything and anything he could do to help" the alliance: "lick envelopes, send letters, and (he) was always there when you needed him, but he never really took the limelight."

Mr. Saltsman was alive to receive the goodwill ambassador distinction June 3, but the plaque was presented to his mother Linda Pedigo Saltsman at his request, Palmer said.

"It's an amazing feeling to accept something for my son and to get that plaque honoring him," Linda Saltsman said.

Other Kentucky goodwill ambassadors include former state Treasurer Jonathan Miller and Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, D-Lexington.

Originally from Glasgow, Mr. Saltsman graduated from EKU, where he was described as being an "open, compassionate and accepting educator" by ex-EKU professor Marta Miranda.

Mr. Saltsman is survived by his parents, Jimmy and Linda Pedigo Saltsman, and a brother, Tony Saltsman.

The funeral is at 1 p.m. CDT Wednesday at Hatcher & Saddler Funeral Home in Glasgow with burial in the Big Meadow Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Fund at www.klemf.org.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/06/11/2675013/richmond-gay-rights-activist-scottie.html#storylink=cpy
There was an error in this gadget