2 years later, charges are dismissed for Kentucky Farm Bureau protesters

Charges against three protesters who were arrested in 2019 at the Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast at the State Fair were dismissed in Jefferson County District Court on Tuesday.

Chris Hartman, Sonja Wilde-de Vries and Carla F. Wallace — who were arrested by Kentucky State Police — faced second-degree disorderly conduct. Hartman was also arrested for resisting arrest.

For more than a decade, activist groups in Louisville have protested at the Ham Breakfast over Kentucky Farm Bureau policy positions, which as of 2020 include, “The institution of marriage should only be recognized as the legal union of a man and a woman”, “We firmly believe in the value of all individuals, born and unborn”, “We support the current law which prevents teachers’ strikes”, “We oppose schools that declare themselves gender-neutral” and “Striking people should not be eligible for SNAP benefits, surplus products or unemployment compensation. (Read the full policy book here.)

In a press release, Hartman – who is the executive director of the Fairness Campaign, an LGBTQ activist group – said the protests would continue.

“This is another victory in our never-ending battle against the Kentucky Farm Bureau and its discriminatory policies,” Hartman said. “The Kentucky State Police have aggressively tried to protect the Kentucky Farm Bureau from our protests at Ham Breakfast, but they will never stop us from raising awareness of the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s discriminatory policies until they drop them. “

In 2015, the same three protesters were arrested at Ham Breakfast – those charges were also eventually dropped. Hartman wrote about that experience and the protests in general here.

In 2016, LEO asked KFB to explain their process for developing their book. Here is what they wrote:

“Our public policy positions are developed from ideas brought forward by rank-and-file members from County Farm Bureau meetings. Our members develop and vote on agricultural, tax, social and other policy ideas that they believe are important to Kentucky. Legislative policies approved at the county level pass to the state level through a free and fair democratic process. This process ensures that the will of the majority, not the opinion of a single individual, is reflected in our public policy positions.

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