Friday, December 13, 2013

Chair Update: Equality and Political Parties

Letter from the Chairman of the Board
Equality and Political Parties

To my fellow citizens-

In reviewing several items of interest, I determined it is time for an update from the Office of the Chair. I would like to begin by sending my commendations out to our President, Mr. Jordan Palmer. We have filed a lawsuit, Kentucky Equality Federation v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, which challenges the constitutionality of the amendment banning marriage equality. Behind closed doors I have played witness to the countless hours, triumphs, and misgivings this process has caused. If you get the opportunity, please remember to thank him for his continued efforts in the fight for Equality throughout the Commonwealth.

Today I want to talk about politics and the fight for Equality. We, at the Kentucky Equality Federation, do not align ourselves with a particular political party. Instead, we aim to build bridges across all parties. It is true that in most states, the Democratic Party has a better track record than Republicans with regards to marriage equality. It is also true that the smaller parties, Libertarians and Modern Whigs, also support marriage equality, and Marriage Equality Kentucky, a member of Kentucky Equality Federation.

Our rally in Frankfort (February 2013), had representatives from the Kentucky Young Democrats, Kentuckians Against the War on Women, and present. Then in October we co-sponsored Pride and Politics, with GoProud, a gay conservative organization affiliated with the Republican Party. Our members, volunteers, and Administration represent a healthy mix of political party affiliations. This is not a weakness, just the contrary, it is a strength, and a core value that unifies Kentucky Equality Federation unconditionally.

You may be thinking, 'why is this important?' I challenge everyone without equality to look in the mirror and practice what we seek. Acceptance. The hyperpolarization of politics is causing an impasse in progress. It is stymying real, pragmatic conversations. Equality is being lost in that fray.

A perfect example of this is when the United Way in Lexington terminated funding for the Boy Scouts.  As President Jordan Palmer stated:  "The Boy Scouts of America are already facing hostility for their good decision earlier this year to permit openly-gay scouts to join. The Boy Scouts National Council voted in May to allow openly gay youth to join but maintained its ban on gay leaders. Radical social conservatives are undercutting the Boy Scouts of America, terminating affiliations, discontinuing support, and trying to establish homophobic-based competing organizations. Meanwhile, the Boy Scouts of America, having made a positive step in resolving inequality issues, are now receiving attacks from pro-equality forces for not moving fast enough."

If we want true Equality and acceptance, it must come from people of all backgrounds, generations, life circumstances, and political parties. Look beyond political parties. Build a common thread in equality. We will achieve our Mission by connecting to people on an individual basis. Share your stories and experiences to forge these relationships. Encourage these new allies to contact their state legislators in support of equality.

In service,

Col. Brandon Combs, MS
Chairman of the Board

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