Thu March 14, 2013
News of Rift Among Kentucky's LGBTQ Leaders is News to LGBTQ Leaders
A Reuters article published this week puts Fairness President Chris Hartman and True Colors Ministry's Maurice "Bojangles" Blanchard "at loggerheads"—but the two men in question disagree.
The piece, written by Edith Honan, says the Fairness Campaign "seeks to overturn discrimination through a legislative path," while Louisville's openly-gay Baptist minister favors demonstrations and civil disobedience. But according to Hartman and Blanchard, the so-called rift is overstated; they are simply using different strategies to achieve the same long-term goals.
Blanchard is affiliated with the Fairness Campaign. He's a coordinating committee member and is co-chair of Faith Leaders for Fairness.
"I have focused on raising the profile of the relationship recognition debate, while Fairness Coalition leaders advance the anti-discrimination Fairness dialog," he said, but adds, "We see both strategies as necessary to the end goal of Fairness for all."
Hartman also concedes that their tactics may differ and they may appear to be tackling two different issues.
But he said, "These are not silos within our effort, but both piece of a larger puzzle in the full pursuit of equality in Kentucky."
While the article may seem unnecessarily divisive, Hartman said he's glad for any light to be shed on LGBTQ issues in Kentucky. "With Fairness anti-discrimination protections on the books in only four Kentucky cities and a state-wide constitutional ban on same-gender marriage, Kentucky still has a long road to tread towards full civil rights protections for all its residents."
Meanwhile, the national spotlight is on Kentucky this week regardless of whether there's a rift in the fairness movement. Gov. Steve Beshear is being lobbied to veto House Bill 279, the so-called "religious-freedom" bill which would allow citizens to ignore laws that are incompatible with their religious beliefs. It passed both chambers of the General Assembly by an overwhelming margin and will become law unless Beshear strikes it down.