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'Fairness Campaign' protests at the Ky. State Fair

by WHAS11


Posted on August 23, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 23 at 4:41 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- The buffet line at the Kentucky Farm Bureau's 48th Annual Country Ham Breakfast had an unexpected addition on Thursday, a protest by the Louisville-based Fairness Campaign.  

Clad in blue T-shirts, the informational picket protested Kentucky Farm Bureau policies.

"They're opposed to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans gender civil rights," said Chris Hartman, Fairness Campaign Director.  "They oppose a woman's right to choose.  They support the death penalty.  And they're opposed to teacher unions and the unionization of farm laborers."

Though a Kentucky Farm Bureau spokesman declined comment, saying the corporation was focusing on "ham and charity," Daniel Smaldone said it would be up the Farm Bureau members to decide whether to change any policies.

Hartman said he is convinced that Farm Bureau members are not aware of the Farm Bureau's positions on those controversial issues.

"We didn't want to interrupt the event this morning," Hartman said.  We simply wanted to make a silent statement to raise the awareness level."

The protest was not only peaceful, but once the program started, the protesters sat and ate breakfast alongside the Farm Bureau employees and members.  

"Not only that they make decisions as customers to think about where their money is going," Hartman said, "but to officially ask the Farm Bureau as a customer to remove these discriminatory policies."

"There's no reason that an insurance company should have these policies or advocate for them at the legislative level," Hartman continued. "It doesn't make sense."

Yet, Hartman said if Farm Bureau customers and members decided to support the policies, he would accept their informed decision.

"Certainly," Hartman replied.  "It's everyone's right to believe what they would like to believe and to make their choices."