NEWS

'Dear Kim Davis': Non-profit with local roots shares message of equality

Savannah Vasquez
svasquez@thedestinlog.com
Planting Peace, created a physical comment by way of a billboard erected in Kim Davis' hometown of Morehead, Kentucky.

A Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis made national news earlier this month for her refusal to approve marriage licenses for same sex couples in Rowan County. Davis cited religious exclusion but was jailed for contempt of court and later released with instructions not to interfere with license issuing again.

In response to the news, people across the nation began to vent their thoughts on social media with hashtags including #KimDavis, #KissesForKim, #ReligiousLiberty and #LGBTRights.

One non-profit with Destin roots, Planting Peace, created a physical comment by way of a billboard erected in Davis’ hometown of Morehead, Kentucky. The billboard that features a photo of a cow and three goats reads: “Dear Kim Davis, The fact that you can’t sell your daughter for three goats and a cow means we’ve already redefined marriage.”

Davis Hammet, the director of operations for Planting Peace said the reason for the billboard is to point out the flaws in Davis’ logic and to support the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community.

“We wanted to start dialogue about the selective nature of religious tradition-based discrimination and help individuals to think more critically,” said Hammet. “Kim Davis used her government office to discriminate against gay couples. Such homophobic actions inspire violence against LGBTQ people and contribute to youth suicide.”

Planting Peace is a multi-faceted organization that works on global humanitarian aid and environmental projects as well as advocating for LGBTQ equal rights. In early 2013, the creation of a rainbow-colored Equality House in Topeka, Kansas put the non-profit in the spotlight as it is directly across from Westboro Baptist Church; a congregation known for anti-LGBTQ, anti-military and anti-semitic views.

Since the construction of the billboard, Hammet says the spotlight has returned to the non-profit as response from people on both sides of the issue has been copious.

“We have received an overwhelmingly positive response,” said Hammet. “Planting Peace does these things to help encourage and empower LGBTQ youth so we have been thrilled to have LGBTQ youth from Kentucky reach out saying how this has helped them.

Unfortunately, working for human rights always comes with some negative response. We have received increasingly violent threats and even death threats, but when we created the Equality House we made the decision that we were going to work for human rights regardless of the consequences.”

Although there is no confirmation as to whether Davis has seen the billboard, Hammet says the organization feels it has accomplished the goal with the message.

“It is critical that young LGBTQ individuals see homophobic actions countered in some manner,” he said. “By pointing out the hypocrisy of Mrs. Davis’ actions we help to arm youth with the skills they need to counter hate they see in daily life. When they see adults stand up to hate and discrimination it affirms their existence.”