A lesbian couple was ordered to leave a Kentucky park while taking maternity photos on the park's grounds, and the women believe they were ousted because they are gay.
Cheri Chenault and Destiny Keith decided to go to E.C. Million Memorial Park in Richmond, Ky., last weekend to take photos ahead of the birth of their baby boy, whom they're expecting on Sept. 29, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
The park served as the backdrop for the photos, which were being taken by local photographer Jessica Miller-Poole, who owns 13 Wishes Photography. The photos were taken in a privately-owned section of the park that is open to the public.
After the couple kissed for a photo, a park gatekeeper went over to the group, which consisted of Chenault, Keith, Miller-Poole and her husband, and told them they had to leave the park grounds because they were being inappropriate.
The photographer's husband approached the gatekeeper to ask why he wanted them out.
“He talked to the man and said that if it was because they were two women, that he wanted to know,” Miller-Poole told the Richmond Register. “The man said, ‘Those type of people were not welcomed there,’” she said. “My husband ended up getting very angry and had to walk away.”
Miller-Poole went on to say she was shocked and upset by the gatekeeper's actions.
“I never understood why people make such a big deal about being treated differently until I was actually in the middle of it and witnessed it firsthand," Miller-Poole told the Register. "It really bothered me and upset me to witness someone be so cruel.”
Although gays are protected under the Kentucky Hate-Crime Law, they are not protected under the Kentucky Non-Discrimination Law.
Discrimination against gays in Kentucky has garnered national attention as of late.
On April 4, 2011, Kevin Pennington was kidnapped and assaulted in the remote hills of southeastern Kentucky by two cousins who allegedly targeted him because he is gay. The two were charged this April with committing a hate crime in violation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
And in June of last year, a gay couple with developmental and intellectual disabilities, was ejected from the Pavilion pool in Hazard, Ky. The couple was asked to leave the swimming pool by a maintenance worker, who said, "We own this place and can tell you to leave if we want to," according to the Advocate.
Chenault and Keith's story has revived the call to action for gay rights in Kentucky, the Herald-Leader reports.
"This young couple's plight is a perfect elucidation of the need for a local fairness ordinance in Richmond," Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, said in a news release quoted by the paper. "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."
An Iowa lesbian couple might have hoped to find a wedding cake that was both delicate and sweet, but they say <a href="http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/2011/11/baker-denies-wedding-cake-same-sex-couple" target="_hplink">their experience with a Des Moines-based baker</a> left behind a sour taste. As KCCI-TV<a href="http://www.kcci.com/news/29753206/detail.html" target="_hplink"> is reporting</a>, the owner of Victoria's Cake Cottage refused to bake a cake for Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers, who are planning a June wedding, because she is Christian. Victoria Childress, who runs her bakery from home, says it's her right as a business owner to turn away customers."I said, 'I'll tell you I'm a Christian, and I do have convictions.' And I said, 'I'm sorry to tell you, but I'm not going to be able to do your cake," Childress, who met the couple during a taste-testing appointment, said. "I didn't do the cake because of my convictions for their lifestyle. It is my right, and it's not to discriminate against them. It's not so much to do with them, it's to do with me and my walk with God and what I will answer [to] Him for."
A Phoenix-based lesbian couple cried foul after <a href="http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2012/02/28/20120228phoenix-sheraton-reach-out-ousted-lesbian-couple.html" target="_hplink">being told to "get a room" by a hotel restaurant manager</a> during a romantic dinner. <em>The Arizona Republic</em> says Kenyata White and Aeimee Diaz, both 38, chose to celebrate their two-year anniversary at the District American Kitchen and Wine Bar, located inside the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, on Sunday because they met there. "My partner and I were reminiscing...in one of the tall booths," White told the paper. "I had my arm around her neck, and she had her hand around my waist. I gave her a hug for about a minute, pulled myself away to give her a quick kiss, and then we continued talking." White told AZ Family that <a href="http://www.azfamily.com/news/A-Lesbian-couple-is-kicked-out-of-a-Downtown-hotel-after-sharing-a-kiss-140801993.html" target="_hplink">she and Diaz were then approached</a> by a restaurant manager, who "came up to us and said we should get a room. That our behavior was inappropriate and we should leave the establishment."
Rose Marie Belforti, the town clerk in Ledyard, N.Y., drew national attention after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The town's government is behind Belforti, saying it cannot force her to issue licenses.
A Florida-based lesbian couple said they were humiliated by their driver's license application "nightmare" after the Pinellas County DMV rejected their name change request after an hour-long wait.
The owner of a new gay bar on Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood said he was refused service because a printing company thinks homosexuality is wrong. The printing company's owner argued he didn't approve of the artwork on the promotional material.
Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont after the proprietors <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-alexander/a-change-is-gonna-come_1_b_1079932.html" target="_hplink">refused to host</a> Katherine Baker and Ming-Lien Linsley's same-sex wedding reception. As ABC <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/vermont-inn-sued-refusal-host-gay-couples-wedding/story?id=14110076#.TsFfOoBPkqU" target="_hplink">is reporting</a>, the inn updated its website shortly thereafter to announce it is "no longer hosting weddings or special events."
In August, Alix Genter, a lesbian bride-to-be, claimed to have been denied service at Here Comes the Bride in Somers Point, N.J., after the salon's manager said she didn't want to be associated with the pending "illegal action," <a href="http://articles.philly.com/2011-08-18/news/29900898_1_bridal-shop-dresses-gay-marriage" target="_hplink">according to the</a><em> Philadelphia Daily News</em>.