Kansas State Fair Official Under Fire for Denying Booth to Pro-Life Group
by Steven Ertelt
September 10, 2009
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — Officials with the Kansas State Fair are under fire from a local pro-life group that says it was denied space for a fair booth. The Kansas Coalition for Life (KCFL) has been trying to get a booth at the Kansas State Fair since 2005 but has no luck because of its pro-life position.
This year, the group hoped to show off its petition against abortion funding in the national health care restructuring bills Congress is considering.
When Mark Gietzen, the group’s chairman, made it known to Denny Stoecklein, the general manager of the fair, that KCFL had been declined for four years in a row now, Stoecklein had a response.
We do not operate on a first-come-first-serve basis," he said. "We select our exhibitors based on who has the most to offer to the Kansas Fair-Goer what would be most popular?
Stoecklein said he would likely deny an application from yet another hot dog vender but would approve fair booths with interesting or one-of-a-kind appeal to attendees.
However, when Geitzen informed Stoecklein that KCFL has seen other fair booths with the petition spark significant public interest, the rules suddenly changed.
"When Stoecklein realized that he had painted himself into a corner with his clichéd answer, he referred me to Tom Tunnell, the president of the Kansas State Fair Board," he told LifeNews.com. "Tom had a different stock answer."
Tunnell told Geitzen KCFL was 225th in line for the coveted booth space and that KCFL would have to wait in line like everyone else.
"That is completely the contrary to what Denny said," Geitzen told LifeNews.com. "The fact is, there is nothing fair or consistent about who gets booth space at the Kansas State Fair, and who does not."
"In other words, the most popular petition in Kansas right now is being shut out simply because the powers-that-be, do not like the message," he added.
Geitzen called Vicki Buening, who heads up the Governors Constituent Services office and learned he couldn’t rely on the governor for help.
He says his group is considering setting up shop outside the state fairgrounds even though Stoecklein threatened to arrest Geitzen and his group for doing so.
"The intended actions of the Hutchinson Police remain unknown, in the event that KCFL tries to take petition signatures on public property outside of the gates of the Kansas State Fair," the pro-life advocate concluded. "KCFL always operates completely within the law. We will abide by the limits placed upon us by legitimate authority, even if it does not seem fair."
Geitzen said local police officials will allow him to obtain petitions outside the fairgrounds.
Although KCFL has not had a booth, Kansans for Life, the statewide pro-life organization, does a booth every year at the state fair without problems.
ACTION: Contact the Kansas State fair and express your disappointment at Kansas State Fair, 2000 N Poplar St., Hutchinson KS 67502-5562, call 800-362-3247 or email [email protected]
Related web sites:
KCFL – https://www.kcfl.net
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