May 5, 2012

Kentucky Equality Federation leader steps down because of health reasons

A high-profile advocate for gay and lesbian people in Kentucky is stepping down because of a serious health condition.

Jordan Palmer, president of the Kentucky Equality Federation, will turn over the reins of the organization to another officer as of May 7, according to a news release.

Palmer plans to return to the federation when he is able, but said it's not clear when that will be.

He declined to speak publicly about his health problem, but told federation members in a statement that it is life-threatening without immediate treatment.

Palmer said he is to have surgery soon.

"Should my luck run out, please know that serving Kentucky Equality Federation and working with all of you has truly been the highlight of my life and I have absolutely no regrets," Palmer told the group's officers and members in an email.

The federation advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people. It has pushed for same-sex marriage in Kentucky.

Last year, the group protested after an employee of a public pool in Hazard asked two gay men with disabilities to leave.

In another instance, Palmer pushed for federal authorities to take over another case involving a gay man who said he was attacked in Harlan County because of his sexual orientation.

The FBI took the case. A grand jury indicted two men on charges of kidnapping the victim and beating him because of sexual orientation — the first such charges in the nation under the federal hate-crimes law.

Joshua Koch, vice-president of policy and public relations at the federation, will take over as temporary president.

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