The Kentucky Farm Bureau still hates gays.
The insurance company, and its lobbying arm, which proclaims to be the “Voice of Kentucky Agriculture,” continues to promote discrimination and oppression, targeting the LGBTQ community, women’s reproductive rights, teachers and organized labor … among others.
In its annual policy book, sent to state legislators, the Farm Bureau Federation outlines its mission and legislative agenda. It covers such topics as agriculture services, transportation and infrastructure, water resources, wildlife and healthcare. It says these “priority issues are ideas that are timely and could have the most impact on the lives of rural Kentuckians.
So, what exactly is the timeliness and importance — “on the lives of rural Kentuckians” — of discrimination and bigotry towards gays?
Let me ask that more plainly: What does gay marriage have to do with agriculture policy?
To understand this level of ignorance, hypocrisy and delusion, read Part I, subsection 10 “Our Democratic System,” of its policy manual:
“It is our constant challenge to maintain this [American democratic system] and the freedoms, the spiritual morality, and high standard of living it has provided.
“We maintain our belief in the quality of all persons under the law and we are opposed to granting special privileges to anyone.
“The institution of marriage should only be recognized as the legal union of a man and a woman.
“We are opposed to any state-supported agency providing benefits to ‘domestic’ partners.”
After praising the American democracy, the Farm Bureau presents policies that are objectively un-American and anti-American. They are un-American in that they ignore the law as settled by the Supreme Court. And they are un-American because they espouse a righteous, bigoted, hateful and discriminatory position against other Americans.
The day after LEO hits the stands, Thursday, Aug. 25, the Kentucky Farm Bureau hosts its 53rd Annual Kentucky Ham Breakfast at the State Fair. This event draws over 1,500 people, including prominent government officials and politicians. Every year, the State Fair’s “Grand Champion Ham” is auctioned off for charity. Last year, the winning bid was $400,000 — over $28,000 per pound. The year before, the ham went for $2 million, as two bidders agreed to partner.
For the last five years, the Fairness Campaign has attended to protest the policies. Last year, the (peaceful) protest led to the arrest of three people, among them Chris Hartman, the Fairness Campaign director, who was charged with disorderly conduct in the second degree — later dropped. Their “crime” was wearing T-shirts that said, “No hate in our state,” and standing silently at the table they purchased for the breakfast.
The Farm Bureau has had a year to reconsider its policies and to digest the Supreme Court’s decision affirming gay marriage. What has a year brought?
No more wisdom, no more perspective and no more acceptance. Instead, it is another year of being entrenched in good ol’ fashioned, un-American hatred and bigotry.
U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (yes, my father), made a promise to the Farm Bureau in February when it visited the Capitol to meet with congressional leaders. He told the group that if it did not change its policies, he would attend the breakfast … this time, with the protesters.
I will be there, too, Thursday at 7 a.m.
I encourage you to join and make heard the voice of reason, sanity and, most important, love and fairness. Heard by the Farm Bureau and all the politicians, including Sen. Mitch McConnell and Gov. Matt Bevin.
Finally, take note of the winning bidder. Whoever it is needs to be held accountable and justify support of an event that is tarnished by the Farm Bureau’s hatefulness.