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Charges Dropped Against Kentucky State Fair Protesters

Charges were dismissed Thursday against three gay rights activists arrested during a protest at a Kentucky State Fair breakfast event.

In August, Kentucky State Police arrested Louisville Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman, Carla Wallace and Sonja de Vries after the activists stood in protest during the Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast & Auction.

The activists were protesting what they called the discriminatory policies of the Kentucky Farm Bureau, including its formal opposition to same-sex marriage and domestic partner benefits.

Hartman was charged with disorderly conduct and failure to disperse. Wallace and de Vries faced charges of failure to disperse.

But on Thursday, prosecutors agreed to drop the charges.

“We feel great that the prosecution saw what we knew to be true that we were arrested unlawfully,” Hartman said. “There was no merit to the charges that were brought against us.”

Hartman said he will likely pursue a lawsuit against the Kentucky State Police.

“The point of seeking civil suits is to vindicate the constitutional rights that were violated,” he explained. “The state police acted in an unlawful manner and we will be seeking the civil suits to prove that.”

In August, a KSP spokesman saidthe agency’s “actions will be defended” if the activists goes forward with a lawsuit. KSP did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday.

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