February 24, 2013

Equality Rally Held In Frankfort

Lawmakers may not be in session this weekend but that doesn't mean the capitol is quiet.

The Kentucky Equality Federation held a rally Saturday afternoon at the steps of the capitol building.

They say they are marching for a statewide equality law and for equal rights for women.

"We picked a Saturday just because we wanted people who work during the week, working families and students to be able to attend an event that they wanted to attend," says Jordan Palmer, with Kentucky Equality Federation.

News Link to Lex18: http://www.lex18.com/news/equality-rally-held-in-frankfort/

Kentuckians Protest

Some Kentuckians rallied for women's rights today on the state capitol steps.

They were protesting bills that would require women to have an ultrasound and meet with a physician before getting an abortion.

They were showing support for two other bills that would add sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act.

The event was hosted by the "Kentuckians Against the War on Woman" and the Kentucky Equality Federation.

News Link: ABC 36: http://www.wtvq.com/content/localnews/story/Kentuckians-Protest-War-On-Women/sIoT5Qimr0O1Uj6MySfU0g.cspx

February 8, 2013

Logan schools asked to stop Gideons by Kentucky Equality Federation

An incident at the Auburn School in November has resulted in the Logan County School Board getting a “cease and desist” letter from the Kentucky Equality Federation.

The letter, which is dated Jan. 31, 2013, asks the school system to stop allowing Bibles to be handed out on school grounds.

According to Logan County superintendent Marshall Kemp, the Gideons were at the Auburn school in November handing out Bibles.

“The Gideons have given Bibles out for a very long time in our schools,” Kemp said. “The proper way is on a voluntary basis, where they put the Bibles on a table and if a child wants it, they can pick it up.”

Kemp said that it was legal for the group to come to a school, set up a table with Bibles on it and allow them to be handed out passively to any student that wishes to take one.

“It wasn’t done that way at Auburn,” Kemp said. “One was handed to each child.”

A parent, referred to only as “Ms. Alms” in the cease and desist letter, then apparently contacted the Kentucky Equality Federation about the incident.

“I believe in God and I know God loves all people. I am a practicing Christian, and I also practice Taoism. However, a public school is not the proper venue to distribute religious materials of any type,” Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer said in a news release. “This practice will cease immediately or I will instruct our legal department to sue the Logan County School District. I will teach my children about religion at home. We again are notifying the Kentucky Department of Education and the Office of Kentucky Education Secretary, Mr. Joseph U. Meyer.”

According to its website, the Kentucky Equality Federation is, “Kentucky’s largest all-volunteer grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (“LGBTI”) civil rights and advocacy organization for both social and political equality. Kentucky Equality Federation is a diverse organization consisting of several corporations and groups with a common cause for Peace, Liberty, and Equality for All.”

Kemp said this was the first time anyone had complained about the Gideons giving away Bibles in the school system.

Kemp said that in the past, he has sent out information to principals about the correct way of allowing the Bibles to be distributed.

“I don’t remember exactly when I did that, though, and some of our newer principals may not have gotten that,” Kemp said.

Kemp said as far as he knows, the Gideons have not requested to hand out Bibles in the Logan County schools since the November incident.

“Not to my knowledge - no one has told me if they have,” Kemp said. “They don’t ask me in the first place, though. They ask the principals and the principals are supposed to know how to handle it so that this sort of things doesn’t happen.”

Kemp said he was unsure what the school system would do going forward.

He said that the matter could be left up to the individual schools’ site-based decision making councils - or the school board may make a policy for the entire district.

Read more: News Democrat Leader - Logan schools asked to stop Gideons (Subscribe to the News Democrat Leader)

February 1, 2013

An Organization is Urging Logan County Schools to Stop Alleged Distribution of Bibles in School

It was at Auburn Elementary where one parent claims a small red Gideon's bible sparked controversy.

"In November, my son came home with a red Gideon Bible that he says was brought into his classroom by a man with a box, and the students were told if they wanted to accept it, they could come up to the front of the class and accept it," said concerned parent Heather Alms.

Alms says this puts young students in a compromising position.

"That puts that 10-year-old in a position where they have to choose whether or not to go up to the front of the class and take a Bible, that their family may not practice. They may not read that Bible," said Alms.

That's a position she says no child should be left in.

"It's not about religion, it's about providing an opportunity to learn in a safe environment where children are not isolated or ostracized due to cultural differences," said Alms.

Kentucky Equality Federation it's a legal issue. Palmer says the distribution of religious material in a public school violates section 5 of the Kentucky Constitution.

"First of all, that's not legal or constitutional, but even if it were, if they can legally hand out one religious publication, then they can also hand out other religious publications." "Our order to them was to cease and desist immediately the distribution of, or permitting the distribution of any religious material in any manner to any student in the school district," said Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer.

This request came after Alms notified the Kentucky Equality Federation of her concerns.

Palmer says now they are awaiting a response from Logan County Schools and will take further legal action if their requests are not met.

The superintendent of Logan County Schools declined to comment, other than to say they are working with the school board's attorney to evaluate their options, and plan to respond to the Kentucky Equality Federation with their decision soon.

News link:  WBKO

Watch: WBKO