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Kentucky Equality Federation is an umbrella organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, consisting of Federation for Kentucky Equality, Inc., Kentucky Equality Coalition, Inc., and Kentucky Equality PAC. Kentucky Equality Federation is a member of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

Kentucky Equality Federation
MottoPeace, Liberty, and Equality for All!
FormationNovember 1, 2005 (2005-11-01)
PurposeLGBT rights
HeadquartersLexington, Kentucky (USA)
Region served
Kentucky (USA)
Jordan Palmer
Main organ
Board of Directors
AffiliationsMarriage Equality Kentucky, Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Campaign, Kentucky Equality PAC, and Kentucky Equal Ballot Access


Originally called Kentucky Equal Rights, the organization changed its name to Kentucky Equality, with either "Association" or "Federation" always appearing afterward. Kentucky Equality has "The Equality Party", "Commonwealth Equality", "Kentucky Equality Federation", and "Kentucky Equality Association" listed as assumed names with the Kentucky Secretary of State.


Kentucky Equality Federation believes all people are endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment free from oppression, discrimination, school bullying, and hate crimes regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, veteran status, political affiliation, or any other defining characteristic. The end of discrimination is not simply the elimination of flagrant abuses, rather it is the ability of a person to fully exercise their Kentucky human rights to the same full extent enjoyed by their peers, without fear of retribution, aspersion, or harm, be that harm political or social.

Kentucky Equality Federation assists and acts as public advocate for people who have been bullied, discriminated against, or victimized in addition to assisting them with legal remedies. When the laws have not caught up to the moral needs of society, we will seek their modification, pursuant to the creation of a just society.[1]

Member organizationsEdit

The following organizations are listed a members of Kentucky Equality Federation:

  • Marriage Equality Kentucky[2]
  • Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Campaign[3]
  • Kentucky Equal Ballot Access[4]

Management structureEdit

The corporations that make-up Kentucky Equality Federation are formal membership organizations. The acceptance of new members must be approved by unanimous vote of existing members ("Permanent and Official Membership"). Permanent and Official Membership have a say in the structure and priorities of the organizations. Permanent and Official Membership elect the Board of Directors and the President; they must also approve amendments to Bylaws. Permanent and Official Membership ensure the continuation of Kentucky Equality Federation; both the Board of Directors and the President serve at the pleasure of Permanent and Official Membership. All non-board members serve at the pleasure of the president.[1][5]


  • Public Relations Committee
  • Kentucky Discrimination and School Bullying Committee
  • Planning Committee
  • Transgender Special Advisory Committee
  • Fundraising Committee.

Activities and historyEdit

In March 2007 the Kentucky Equality Federation won a MySpace Impact Award (since 2006) in the area of Social Justice, beating Do Something and Loose Change to Loosen Change. The Federation was awarded a $10,000.00 cash prize and promotional support from MySpace.

Boone County High SchoolEdit

Kentucky Equality was involved getting the first Gay-Straight Alliance approved at Boone County High School in Northern Kentucky.[6] On July 19, 2006 Boone County High School ended more than a year of stonewalling and avoided a federal and state lawsuit by finally approving the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance. Jordan Palmer, founder and president of the Kentucky Equality Federation warned school officials that he would file a lawsuit in federal court for violating the federal Equal Access Act which requires schools to treat Gay-Straight Alliance's as they would any other school group, and a separate lawsuit with the Kentucky Court of Justice for violating the Kentucky Education Reform Act.[7]

Incident with Representative FischerEdit

Prior to the November 2006 General Election Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer verbally attacked Kentucky Representative Joseph Fisher (R) after he stated "homosexuals have not experienced the same type of insidious discrimination in housing and employment as blacks and women." In addition, Fischer stated he believed homosexuals could easily change their sexual orientation.[8]

Complaint resolution and public advocateEdit

On September 7, 2006 the Kentucky Equality Federation announced they would act as a "buffer" for victims of discrimination, hate crimes, and school bullying establishing a toll-free number, (877) KEF-5775 and an online complaint system to report incidents. The federation stated they believe a lot of incidents go unreported each year throughout Kentucky because of bad experiences in working with law enforcement, while others feared being "outed" or reprisals would ensue from their perpetrators.[9]

Relationship with Kentucky Fairness AllianceEdit

On January 9, 2008 Kentucky Equality Federation's General Advisory Council condemned Kentucky Fairness Alliance.[10][11] According to published reports, one reason for the dispute between the two organizations was related to Bluegrass Fairness of Central Kentucky, once a chapter of Kentucky Fairness Alliance. Kentucky Equality Federation's General Advisory Council also cited problems in working with the Executive Director of Kentucky Fairness Alliance.

The condemnation was short lived; on April 18, 2008 Kentucky Equality Federation's Board of Directors rescinded the General Advisory Council's condemnation of Kentucky Fairness Alliance and terminated 9 of the 14 members on the General Advisory Council.[12]

University of the CumberlandsEdit

Kentucky Equality led a protest at the Governor's Annual Derby Breakfast on May 6, 2006. The protest was in response to Governor Ernie Fletcher's refusal to veto funding to the University of the Cumberlands after expelling a student for revealing he was gay on the social networking site MySpace.

On July 7, 2009 Kentucky Equality Federation condemned the University of the Cumberlands for uninviting the Broadway Baptist Church of Texas' church choir from participating in its community based Mountain Outreach Program because of their "tolerant stance toward homosexuality."[13] The following day Kentucky Equality Federation also condemned $1.2 million in federal funding to expand programs at the university.[13][14]

Federal hate crime convictionEdit

On March 15, 2012, the Kentucky State Police assisted the FBI in arresting David Jenkins, Anthony Jenkins, Mable Jenkins, and Alexis Jenkins of Partridge, Kentucky for the beating of Kevin Pennington during a late-night attack in April 2011 at Kingdom Come State Park, near Cumberland. The push came from the gay-rights group Kentucky Equality Federation, whose president, Jordan Palmer, began lobbying Washington, D.C.[15] to prosecute after stating he had no confidence in the Harlan County Commonwealth's Attorney to act.[16] "I think the case's notoriety may have derived in large part from the Kentucky Equality Federation efforts," said Kerry Harvey, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.[17] Mable Jenkins and Alexis Jenkins plead guilty.

Billboard removalEdit

On May 25, 2012,[18] a controversial billboard condemning homosexuality and abortion was posted on New Circle Road near Leestown Road in Lexington, KY. That same billboard was later stolen, defaced, and displayed in a local Lexington eatery.[19] The billboard owner replaced the billboard shortly thereafter. The Kentucky Equality Federation, after receiving a complaint, took action. On July 31, 2012, the billboard was confirmed as removed citing complaints launched by Jordan Palmer, President, and Brandon Combs, Chairman of the Board.[20]

Marriage equality lawsuitEdit

On September 10, 2013 the Kentucky Equality Federation sued the Commonwealth of Kentucky in Franklin Circuit Court claiming Kentucky's 2004 Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage violated sections of the commonwealth's constitution.[21] Case # 13-CI-1074 was assigned by the Franklin County Court Clerk[22] (the location of the Kentucky State Capitol). The lawsuit was conceived by President Jordan Palmer, written and signed by Vice President of Legal Jillian Hall, Esq. Jordan Palmer stated to the media that:

Kentucky added a facially unconstitutional amendment to its constitution via a ballot initiative process. Thus, the attempt to abrogate constitutional sensibilities in favor of a ballot initiative, as was done for Section 233A of the Kentucky Constitution in 2004, is against the very notion of equal protection as guaranteed to each and all of Kentucky's population. This should be held as true as a matter of law by the Courts, regardless of the ballot's outcome.[23]


On April 16, 2015, Kentucky Equality Federation v. Beshear also known as Kentucky Equality Federation v. Commonwealth of Kentucky was ruled on by Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate. Judge Wingate sided with Kentucky Equality Federation against the Commonwealth and struck down Kentucky Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriages. Judge Wingate also struck down all laws passed by the Kentucky General Assembly. At the request of Governor Steve Beshear's legal representation, the Judge also placed a stay on the order pending a ruling from a Kentucky appellate court (such as the Kentucky Court of Appeals or Kentucky's court of last resort, the Kentucky Supreme Court) or the U.S. Supreme Court.[24] The lawsuit was a significant victory for the Kentucky Equality Federation and the same-sex marriage civil rights movement.

Kentucky's statutory and constitutional bans on same-sex marriage void and unenforceable for violating Plaintiff and Plaintiff's Members Constitutional Rights", ruled Judge Wingate.[25]


See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b "Kentucky Equality Federation About Us". Kentucky Equality Federation. 2013-01-28.
  2. ^ "Sacratomato".
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-08-01. Retrieved 2018-09-17. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Kentucky Equal Ballot Access".
  5. ^ "Kentucky Equality Federation published Bylaws and Board Resolutions". Kentucky Equality Federation Press Secretary. 2013-01-28.
  6. ^ Whitehead, Shelly (September 9, 2006). "Taking a stand against hatred". Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati ed.). p. A2.
  7. ^ "Kentucky Equality Association Issues Notice and Information to a Northern Kentucky High School". Kentucky Equality Federation Press Release. 2006-06-01.
  8. ^ By Kevin Eigelbach, Post staff reporter. (25 October 2006) Representative Fischer's (R) statement upsets gays Archived 2008-08-23 at the Wayback Machine Kentucky Enquirer. Accessed 14 July 2007.
  9. ^ "Kentucky Equality Federation Provides New Service to Report Hate Crimes, Discrimination, and School Bullying". Kentucky Equality Federation Press Release. 2006-09-07.
  10. ^ Herald Leader Frankfort Bureau (09 January 2008) One state gay rights group breaks ties with another; leadership of Fairness Alliance blamed Lexington Herald-Leader. Accessed 11 January 2008. Archived January 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ (09 January 2008) Drama destroys activist coalition in Kentucky; No Alliance for Federation Queerty. Accessed 11 January 2008.
  12. ^ "Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer responds to reporters". Kentucky Equality Federation Press Secretary. 2008-01-03.
  13. ^ a b Sulfridge, Adam (July 9, 2009). "UC officials mum about turning choir away". Times Tribune, Corbin, KY. Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  14. ^ Kentucky, Post (July 8, 2009). "KEF Condemns Funding To University". Retrieved 13 August 2009.[dead link]
  15. ^ "Kentucky Equality Federation communicates with the U.S. Department of Justice about Harlan County Hate Crime" (Press release). Kentucky Equality Federation. 2011-08-24. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  16. ^ "Indictments on gay federal hate crime thanks to Kentucky Equality Federation; Kentucky is the first in the nation to use the federal law". Kentucky Guardian. 2012-04-13. Archived from the original on 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2014-01-01. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  17. ^ "David Jason Jenkins, Anthony Ray Jenkins Face Life In Anti-Gay Attack Under New U.S. Hate Crime Law". Huffington Post. 2012-04-18. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  18. ^ "Some Upset By Controversial Billboard Along New Circle Road In Lexington". LEX18. 2012-05-25. Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  19. ^ "Controversial Billboard Removed From Busy Lexington Road". LEX18. 2012-05-31. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  20. ^ "Lexington anti-gay and anti-abortion Billboard ordered removed by the owner". Kentucky Equality Federation. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  21. ^ "Group files lawsuit challenging Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage". Lexington Herald-Leader. 2013-09-12. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  22. ^ "Kentucky Equality Federation v Commonwealth of Kentucky digital copy" (Press release). Lez Get Real. 2013-09-13. Archived from the original on 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2014-01-01. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  23. ^ "Kentucky Equality Federation sues the Commonwealth of Kentucky for marriage equality (digital copy listed on press release)" (Press release). Kentucky Equality Federation. 2013-09-12. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  24. ^ "Kentucky Judge rules in favor of Kentucky Equality Federation and gay marriage". Kentucky Equality Federation Official Facebook Page. 2015-04-16. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  25. ^ "Kentucky Circuit Judge rules in favor of Kentucky Equality Federation" (Press release). Kentucky Equality Federation. 2013-09-12. Retrieved 2015-07-14.


External linksEdit