Dr. Patricia Minter to discuss marriage equality at WKU

Brittiny Moore

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage—a precedent in American history.

Despite the Court’s 5-4 split ruling, many individuals are still questioning various aspects of their rights and the rights of Kentucky county clerks who are issuing marriage licenses.

To make sense of these recent topics of controversy, on Sept. 15 WKU’s Institute for Citizenship & Social Responsibility (ICSR) will present “The Road to Marriage Equality: Past Discrimination, Current Victories, & Future Challenges” at 5 p.m. in the Downing Student Union.

The event will include a discussion from an associate professor in WKU’s history department, Patricia Minter.

According to the WKU ICSR website, Minter will discuss the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision on state and local governments and the next steps for Kentucky.

“According to Judge [David L.] Bunning, the next step is for county court clerks to comply with the decision handed down by the Supreme Court on June 26,” Minter said.

“He’s made it pretty clear that when the Supreme Court speaks, it’s the law of the land.”

Minter will also be discussing a few of the next frontiers for the LGBT community, including workplace and housing discrimination. The discussion will also highlight the local and national efforts to fight these forms of discrimination and the legal ramifications decisions on either topic could have.

“A lot of people don’t realize that right now, you can be fired in Bowling Green and any city that does not have a Fairness Ordinance because of who you are and because of who you love,” Minter said.

A former faculty regent, Minter is also an activist within the Bowling Green community. She is a founding member of Bowling Green Fairness, a local group that works with the statewide Fairness Campaign in its endeavors to enact local fairness ordinances.

“The fairness ordinances protect the rights of all people to fair housing, to freedom from job discrimination and freedom from discrimination in public accommodations,” Minter said. 

“There are only a handful of places in Kentucky that have fairness ordinances; Bowling Green is not one of them. So this has been a long term passion of mine to be part of this movement and to try to pass a fairness law here in Bowling Green.”

As activists, Minter and her husband have set up an endowment for WKU’s annual Lavender Graduation, a ceremony to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender graduates along with their families and allies.

“My husband Michael and I created the endowment so that [the Lavender Graduation] would happen every year,” Minter said.

Her hope is that with the funding, “this would become a new tradition at WKU to raise visibility for the LGBT and ally community.”

Minter anticipates that this discussion will be a great opportunity for students to become more educated about what is happening in the LGBT community.

Kaylan Boyd, a freshman from Henderson, believes this discussion will greatly benefit all students on campus.

“I hope to see another step to stop bullying, whether it be against the LGBT community, racism (sic), and even those with mental or physical complications,” Boyd said.

“This is a great teaching moment because [of] the story that has unfolded in Rowan County,” Minter said. “It’s a complicated story that tells us a lot about the American system of federalism…and how does one pursue a legal remedy.

While Minter says the fight to end discrimination is a work in progress, she also acknowledges this transitional moment in American history.

“I think it’s an amazing moment to live through for the LGBT community and their allies,” she said. “This is the transformative moment that the rights that have previously belonged to some are now applied to all.”