Saturday, July 20, 2002

Lesbian health session jeopardizes UK funds

By The Associated Press

        University of Kentucky's state funding may be at stake if the UK Medical School does not cancel a conference session on lesbian health issues that has drawn attention from some state senators.

        Senate President Pro Tem Dick Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, has asked UK President Lee Todd to look into the session, part of an overall women's health conference sponsored by the medical school and the Kentucky Commission on Women.

        “How dare the university propose to recognize a lifestyle that the vast majority of women in Kentucky do not agree with ... Why are we trying to make Kentucky a laughingstock?” wrote Mr. Roeding on state senate letterhead.

        Sen. Roeding and all other members of the General Assembly received an invitation to the session.

        Sen. Charlie Borders, R-Russell, said he would try to disrupt the school's funding if the session is included.

        “To me, I will be shocked if President Todd is aware of this, and demoralized if he or the administration has given their approval,” Mr. Borders said.

        Mr. Roeding's letter expressed concern on how the session will reflect on the university. It also expressed concern that both of the people delivering legislative updates to the group were female members of the state House of Representatives, rather than including a member of the state Senate.

        Janet Braun, associate director of the Women's Health Center, said Sen. Borders said in a telephone call this week that UK's funding might be in jeopardy over the conference.

        State Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, D-Lexington, who also represents UK, called his colleagues' remarks' “unconscionable.”

        “To suggest any minority be excluded from getting health care at a state institution is flabbergasting and irresponsible,” he said.


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