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Anti-Gay Governor Indicted On Cronyism Charges

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Anti-Gay Governor Indicted On Cronyism Charges

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

May 13, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Frankfort, Kentucky) Kentucky gays were smiling Friday after Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher was indicted by a grand jury on allegations he illegally rewarded political supporters with state jobs since taking office two years ago.

He is charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and violating a prohibition against political discrimination. A conviction on any of the counts could lead to jail time and Fletcher's removal from office.

The charges were filed by Democratic Attorney General Greg Stumbo.

The LGBT community has been at odds with Fletcher after he dropped sexuality from a longstanding executive order that bars discrimination in the public service and then refused to veto an $11 million grant to a Baptist college that refuses to admit gay students.

Although the charges against the government are not related to the two gay community complaints many gays believe Fletcher "had it coming".

Last month Fletcher used a "Diversity Day" appearance to announce he was dropping sexuality from an Executive Order signed in 2003 by then-Gov. Paul Patton. (story)

"It would be very difficult to recruit sexual preference ... We are recruiting affirmative action based on race, ethnicity and gender. I think that's very appropriate."

Less than two weeks later Fletcher used his line item veto to chop $370 million from the state budget but let the funding to University of the Cumberlands stand (story) despite lobbying from gays and Democrats.

On April 6 the university expelled Jason Johnson, 20, after he said on a Web site that he is gay. The dean's list student received all Fs on his transcript when he was expelled. (story) Last week following public outrage the university agreed to allow Johnson to send in work to finish his courses and receive final grades. But he remains barred from the campus.'

The Kentucky Fairness Alliance attempting to block the transfer of the $11 million to the school (story) Court papers say the grant is an "unconstitutional appropriation and use of public funds [for] a sectarian and denominational school that treats Kentucky citizens unequally."

As for the criminal charges Fletcher is facing, he maintains his innocence.

"This has been a politically motivated, media-driven investigation from the start," Fletcher's spokesperson, Brett Hall, said.

©365Gay.com 2006

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