WASHINGTON - Yesterday, Kentucky's Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher issued an executive order repealing anti-discrimination protections against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender state employees as he celebrated "Diversity Day" in the state.
"The governor's hypocrisy is outrageous and un-American," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "No one should be fired from their job simply because of who they are. Governor Fletcher's backwards step does nothing whatsoever to move diversity forward and puts hardworking, taxpaying citizens at risk."
Ironically, Fletcher's order came on the same day he declared "Diversity Day."
"There is no better example of adding insult to injury," said Solmonese. "On a day when the state was supposed to celebrating diversity, Governor Fletcher was removing an entire group of Kentuckians out of the law."
Already in Kentucky, Jefferson County and the cities of Louisville and Covington prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Nationwide, at least 292 local jurisdictions have laws or policies prohibiting discrimination in public employment based on sexual orientation and 80 of these include protections for transgender people. At least 2,546 private employers - including giants like Ford, Microsoft and AT&T - have policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, with 218 of these including protections for transgender employees.
"This order moves Kentucky in the opposite direction of the rest of the country," said Solmonese. "Every day more and more businesses, colleges and universities and state and local governments are protecting their GLBT employees."
A bill that would prohibit local jurisdictions in Kentucky from enacting civil rights ordinances that include protections for GLBT individuals has consistently failed or died in the state Legislature.
"Clearly this mean-spirited order goes against the values of the Legislature and the people of Kentucky who want simple fairness for all their friends and neighbors," concluded Solmonese.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
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