Press

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force denounces Kentucky governor's voiding of employment protections based on sexual orientation

Date: 
April 13, 2006

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

WASHINGTON, April 13 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force denounces Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher's decision this week to celebrate "Diversity Day" by rescinding the state's 3-year-old executive order barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment. Fletcher said he did so because the nondiscrimination policy did not fit with the state's affirmative action efforts to recruit based on race, ethnicity and gender.

"Governor Fletcher's action reflects a lack of political and moral leadership rarely reached. For the governor to eliminate employment protections for an oft-discriminated-against minority — and to do so on Diversity Day no less — is surely a kind of gratuitous brutality. And then to say it was done because the protections did not fit with affirmative action initiatives is so absurdly nonsensical and blatantly political as to be simply ludicrous," said Eleanor (Eldie) D. Acheson, director of Task Force Public Policy & Government Affairs.

She added, "We trust that Kentuckians will reject both this act and the meanness behind it. And we hope that this sorry episode — and all that it says about the politics of division over the politics of unity — serves as a wake-up call for all Americans of goodwill in every community and state in the country."

"Governor Fletcher's deliberate removal of employment protections for gays and lesbians signals just how low he has sunk in the polls," said Christina Gilgor, executive director of Kentucky Fairness Alliance, a Task Force capacity building partner. "Tuesday's announcement rescinding a 2003 executive order protecting Kentuckians from discrimination based on sexual orientation is a political move designed to rally the right-wing base. It is unfortunate our governor seeks political gain at the expense of any minority. Kentucky's 'unbridled spirit' should expand opportunity — not restrict it."

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.