Every year at the Kentucky State Fair, Kentucky Farm Bureau serves a side of hate with the sweet sorghum, country ham and red-eye gravy that are signatures of their Country Ham Breakfast.
For some of us, last year’s breakfast came with a course of handcuffs for joining dozens of others standing in silent protest at our assigned seats. The Kentucky Farm Bureau really doesn’t want their customers to know they’re so big on discrimination.
As one of the state’s largest lobbying groups, the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation officially promotes policies that are anti-LGBT, anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-choice and pro-death penalty, among many others. Kentucky Farm Bureau insurance customers are largely unaware they’re buying into discrimination, as they are automatically charged a fee enrolling them as members of the company’s 501(c)(4) lobbying arm, which spends more than $100,000 a year lobbying these issues. While elected officials are mailed copies of the company’s policy booklet, which details their discriminatory stances, it is not sent to paying customers.
For many years, the Fairness Campaign, American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky (ACLU-KY), Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) and Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice (LSURJ) have taken action against these discriminatory policies.
This year, Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth, State Representative-elect Attica Scott, congressional candidate Nancy Jo Kemper and scores of others joined our action to raise awareness of the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s discriminatory stances.
In his company’s new social media campaign, Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney proudly proclaims, “KFB loves Kentucky.” In reality, Kentucky Farm Bureau does love Kentucky…UNLESS you’re LGBT, a union worker, a teacher, a believer in a woman’s right to choose and more.
You don’t have to take my word for it. We’ve made certain everyone can download the discriminatory policy booklet the Kentucky Farm Bureau doesn’t want you to see at tinyurl.com/kyfarmbureau.
As for our arrests last year, prosecutors subsequently dropped all charges against activists. Now, we are suing the Kentucky State Police in federal court for false arrest, First Amendment free speech violation, First Amendment retaliation and malicious prosecution. No one was arrested this year, but the same troopers named in our lawsuit were eagerly awaiting our arrival, ready to bark down volunteers who held signs that were – according to state police – a few inches too large.
Don’t worry, troopers, next year, we’ll be sure to be inclusive of all sign sizes. Bring your rulers.
Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation 2016 Policy Book
Full booklet and policy page numbers available at tinyurl.com/kyfarmbureau
- 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.
- We strongly believe in the value of all individuals both born and unborn.
- We strongly oppose teacher strikes. We oppose legislation that mandates collective bargaining for public school employees.
- Alternative lifestyles should not be taught in public schools.
- We support the enactment of right-to-work legislation.
- We oppose an increase in the minimum hourly wage.
- We recommend the federal prevailing wage law be repealed when dealing with government contracts.
- We strongly oppose any mandate that would require any government entities to recognize and collectively bargain with employee unions.
- Furthermore, we oppose public employees being permitted to strike, organize work stoppage or slow-downs.
- We oppose unionization of farmers and farm laborers.
- We support capital punishment.