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Lesbians Kicked Out of Ky. Park For Kissing Sparks Outrage

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Jul 18, 2012
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A lesbian couple from Kentucky was recently kicked out of a private park after a gatekeeper spotted them sharing a kiss. The incident has been widely reported, in the British newspaper the Daily Mail, among other media.

The couple, Cheri Chenault and Destiny Keith, was taking maternity photographs in E.C. Million Park in Richmond, Ky., earlier this month. Jessica Miller-Poole, the couple’s photographer, said she asked the women to share a small kiss but a park gatekeeper was apparently offended and insisted they had to leave because "those type of people are not welcome here."

"They had such a small kiss, such a peck of a kiss, that I wasn’t even able to capture a picture of it," Miller-Poole told Kentucky.com. She claims the park employee said she had to leave as well and that she would be banned from the park depending on "your behavior and if you come back and if you bring those things with you."

"At that point I had to walk away, because those ’things’ were my clients and those ’type of people’ were no different from you and me," Miller-Poole said. "There’s a large sign posted, and it tells the hours of the park, no cats, no dogs, no football, no weddings, things along that line," she said. "It doesn’t say anything about a specific race, sexual orientation, anything like that."

"It was just a peck of a kiss. We were told it was inappropriate behavior for us to kiss," she added," Chenault told CBS affiliate WKYT. "We’ve been called different names, but we’ve never been kicked out of a place. I look at us as a family. We’re having a baby, so a family park, family picture."

Members of the Fairness Campaign, a Kentucky advocacy group, have urged lawmakers to implement a local fairness ordinance to would protect gay men and lesbians from some forms of discrimination.

"This young couple’s plight is a perfect elucidation of the need for a local fairness ordinance in Richmond," Chris Hartman, director of the group, said in a news release. "In truth, we need an anti-discrimination (law) that will cover the whole commonwealth, but until that law passes, local fairness ordinances in Richmond, Berea and other cities around the state are necessary."

Sandra Anez-Powell, a chairwoman for Richmond Human Rights Commission, said current law doesn’t exist telling the women they had to leave the park.

Kentucky does not recognize marriage equality and prohibits same-sex couples from adopting children. In addition, the state does not have any hate crime or discrimination laws that protect on the bases of sexual orientation or gender identity. A Public Policy Polling survey from August 2011 found that 62 percent of Kentucky voters believe gay marriage should be illegal while 26 percent supported gay marriage; 12 percent were uncommitted.

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2012-07-18 20:57:23

    Since when does a park employee have that kind of authority? I would’ve ignored him and made him call the police to remove us from the park.


  • Anonymous, 2012-07-19 04:50:34

    People narrow minded like that are plainly just insecure with their own sexuality. Or jealous they don’t receive any attention at home.


  • Rhymes with Made. , 2012-07-19 15:16:51

    One word .. Kentucky. I mean I wouldn’t even stop to take a shit in that state much less go to some park there..


  • Anonymous, 2012-07-20 10:04:28

    How many of you viewing this are in the closet at work and/or at home, etc? I think there are a lot of people who are too afraid of the consequences to express their love publicly, except on Castro Street, etc..


  • Anonymous, 2012-07-20 11:38:30

    Things like this piss me off.. would the park employee have had a problem if it had been a heterosexual couple; not likely.. If things like this bother you don’t work in a public venue, sit behind a desk in a cubicle away from the changing world around you. Oh wait that would require the park employee to have more than an elementary education. Ignoramus


  • Anonymous, 2012-07-21 07:52:47

    I think that park would be the perfect locale for a Big Gay Kiss-In!


  • Anonymous, 2012-07-22 17:04:48

    Kentucky, another bastion of homophobic bigotry, and all nice and legal, too. Well it won’t change until the U.S. stops behaving like a theocracy, where the far-right-wing "CHRISTians" control who is considered equal!!!!!!


  • Anonymous, 2012-10-10 18:01:59

    This is a "private" park. They allow others the privilege of using. Therefore they have the right to ask anyone they want to leave.


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