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Kentucky governor celebrates 'diversity day' by cutting gays from anti-bias law

“It is our diversity that gives us strength.”

Gov. Ernie Fletcher, proclaiming “Diversity Day” in Kentucky in a speech to schoolchildren — after signing an executive order removing sexual orientation from the state’s anti-discrimination laws

Talk about pandering to The Base. Ernie Fletcher earns the turd of the day award for this ballsy move. (Courier-Journal):

Fletcher replaced the 2003 employment policy of former Gov. Paul Patton with one that bans employment discrimination because of “race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, veteran status and disability.”

It makes no mention of sexual orientation. Patton’s policy included protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The reason why Fletcher needed to roll back the policy? It included transgender protection, with his lackey saying it’s all about the bathrooms.

Fletcher spokesman Brett Hall said the governor has no intent to discriminate against gay workers. Rather, the new order mirrors federal affirmative action policy and is meant to prohibit all discrimination, he said. “This is in no way to discriminate against anyone,” Hall said.

Hall said the administration was concerned that the Patton policy on sexual orientation was too broad and extended to others, such as transgender people. That caused a dispute at the state Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet over which restroom an employee undergoing a sex change should use, he said.

“These types of special privileges are not only difficult to comply with, but it’s very expensive,” Hall said, saying it could lead to lawsuits or require the state to build additional restrooms.

Jeebus H. Christ. These folks are crazy. At least there are elected officials in the state that know this is BS pandering to the AmTaliban.

Several lawmakers criticized the new policy, saying it takes Kentucky backward as some states and major employers extend anti-discrimination policies to include gay and lesbian workers. Indiana state government prohibits discrimination in hiring, advancement and firing based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

[Sen. Ernesto] Scorsone predicted the new policy would make gay and lesbian state workers fear disclosing their sexual orientation. And only recently have they begun to feel comfortable about acknowledging their sexual orientation at work through small gestures, such as displaying a photo of a partner on a desk, he said.

Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, called Fletcher’s action “Neanderthal” and said the governor is “taking the state back to the dark ages.”

And the kicker quote comes from the Fletcher flunkie, when asked if the governor was playing to his party’s base, he said: “I don’t know how that plays with the Republican base.”

***

In other non-pandering-to-the-right Ernie Fletcher news, he just signed a bill to allow the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds, with the governor stating it is “an integral part of our history and an integral part of our law.”

He also has a problem with C.E. (Common Era) and B.C.E. (Before Common Era) replacing B.C. and A.D. (Before Christ and Anno Domini, Latin for “in the year of the Lord”) when referring to historical dates.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher, surrounded by lawmakers at a ceremonial signing of a Ten Commandments bill on Monday, said he is opposed to dropping the B.C. and A.D. dating system in what one conservative Christian group says is an effort by the state school board to be politically correct.

This is an attempt to religiously sterilize the teaching of history in our schools,” said Martin Cothran, a policy analyst for The Family Foundation in Lexington.

Lisa Gross, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education, said a draft of a revamped, 600-page guidebook for teachers does recommend the change. However, a final version that may be considered by the state board on Tuesday would propose using all four acronyms.

“To me, this is a tempest in a teapot,” Gross said. “There’s no move here to de-Christianize anything.”

Gross said C.E. and B.C.E. are coming into widespread use, and Kentucky students need to be exposed to the terms in case they encounter them on college placement tests.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding