Thursday, March 20, 2003

Head of state ACLU to take job in Calif.

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - The head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky will step down as executive director Friday to lead another organization.

Jeff Vessels, 40, will become director of the Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, an Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit group dedicated to improving the quality of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors.

During Vessels' tenure, the state ACLU fought to keep local ordinances that prohibit discrimination on sexual orientation, sued to keep the Ten Commandments from being posted in government buildings and lobbied to pass the state's first legislation to ban racial profiling.

Under Vessels' leadership, the ACLU also forged partnerships with other organizations to promote a civilian review board to oversee police.

Membership rose to 3,000 from 2,000 since Vessels became executive director in 1999.

Although he was happy with work at the ACLU, Vessels, who grew up in Owensboro, said he is moving to San Francisco to be with his partner, Gilberto Gerald.

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