The Richmond Register

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July 18, 2012

More than 100 rally in rain for gay rights

RICHMOND — Afternoon thunderstorms did not damper the crowd of more than 100 that turned out Wednesday at Richmond City Hall in support of fairness.

A rally organized by the Kentucky Fairness Coalition was conducted in support of Richmond residents Cheri Chenault and her partner, Destiny Keith, who were reportedly told to leave E.C. Million Park earlier this month while having pictures taken by a local photographer.

The two are expecting a baby boy Sept. 29.

Chris Hartman, director of the Louisville-based Fairness Campaign, encouraged the crowd to attend Tuesday’sRichmond City Commission meeting which begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

“It’s one more example of where discrimination is actually occurring in the state and (those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community) are not protected,” said Michael Aldridge, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. “When people try to pass ordinances at a local level they say, ‘Give us an example.’ This is a perfect example where two ladies were kicked out of a public space because of who they are, and that’s why we need a statewide law.”

The Richmond City Commission has never voiced support of adding protection for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) people in the city’s ordinances.

The couple and the photographer say they were told to leave the park during the photo shoot.

“I had picked one of the flowers (in the park) and was going to use it in the picture,” Miller-Poole said. “The gatekeeper said we were not able to pick the flowers. He left, and we continued to take pictures.”

Miller-Poole then said she asked the couple if they wanted a picture of them kissing.

“They were a little reluctant, and they kissed so quickly that I wasn’t even able to take a picture of it,” she said.

After that, the park gatekeeper approached them again.

“He said that we had to leave, and that (their kissing) was inappropriate,” Miller-Poole said.

The gatekeeper reportedly told Miller-Poole’s husband that “Those type of people were not welcome there,” she said.

The couple considered takingt legal action, Chenault said, but “unfortunately, there’s not a legal case to be made because it’s still legal to deny a job, housing or service in a public space (to people) because they’re LGBT.”

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 624-6608.

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