(July 17, 2012) —A fairness rally has been planned in Richmond, Ky., after a lesbian couple and a photographer were kicked out of a park there last week.
The couple believes they were ordered to leave because they are gay, they told the Richmond Register.
Cheri Chenault and her partner, Destiny Keith, are expecting a baby boy on Sept. 29, and they were having maternity pictures taken by Jessica Miller-Poole, owner of 13 Wishes Photography.
The park’s gate manager told the couple to leave after the photographer asked the couple to kiss for a photo, Miller-Poole said.
“He said that we had to leave and that it was inappropriate,” she said.
Her husband talked to the gatekeeper, she said, and asked if it was because the couple was same-sex.
“The man said, ‘Those type of people were not welcomed there,’” Miller-Poole told the newspaper. “My husband ended up getting very angry and had to walk away.”
The photographer told the paper she often conducts photo shoots there, so she asked the gatekeeper is she banned permanently or just with same-sex couples as clients.
“The man said, ‘If you come back and bring those type of people, you will be removed from the park,’” Miller-Poole said.
Since the story first was printed in the Richmond newspaper, it has been reported about in several state and national publications. Reaction to the story prompted local and state gay-rights advocates to organize a “Rally for Fairness” in front of City Hall on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
The rally will include the couple and their Richmond supporters, as well as members of Bereans for Fairness, said Chris Hartman, director of the Louisville-based Fairness Coalition, according to the newspaper.
A statement from the coalition says a fairness law has been advocated by the Richmond Commission on Human Rights for four years, but city commissioners haven’t yet considered the measure, which would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
In Kentucky, only the cities of Lexington, Louisville and Covington prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The gatekeeper’s actions were not illegal in Kentucky, according to Richmond Human Rights Chairperson Sandra Anez-Powell.
“It is legal to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation here in Richmond,” Anez-Powell told the newspaper. “They can be kicked out of public places, fired from their jobs and denied housing, a right that heterosexual people like me enjoy. The local human rights commission has fought for the last four years to protect the rights of every human being, but the Richmond City Commissioners have chosen to table this issue. The last administration did the same.”