Activists in Kentucky are planning a peaceful response after two gay men with developmental and intellectual disabilities were kicked out of a public pool.
A maintenance technician reportedly cited the Bible while telling the two men they couldn't swim at The Pavilion, a government-funded recreational facility in Hazard, Kentucky.
"We own this place and can tell you to leave if we want to," the couple was told, according to the Kentucky Equality Foundation.
"The Pavilion staff immediately entered the pool area and asked my clients and their staff to leave the Pavilion," Mending Hearts Executive Director Shirlyn Perkins recalled. "My staff asked The Pavilion staff why they were being asked to leave, and they were informed that 'gay people' weren't allowed to swim there."
"My staff told this man that what he was trying to do was discrimination. The man stated that what he was doing was in the Bible and he could do it. My staff continued to argue with this man, but was ultimately forced to leave. My clients, whom already feel ridiculed and different, left the city owned facility crying and embarrassed for trying to participate in 'normal' activities that everyday 'normal' people do," she added.
"This is completely outrageous, The Pavilion is owned by the City of Hazard and paid for by our tax dollars," Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer said. "Rest assured Kentucky Equality Federation will not tolerate discrimination in any form and our Southern Kentucky volunteer management, as well as our Discrimination, Hate Crimes and School Bullying Committee have planned a peaceful response."
Will Taylor, the Kentucky Equality Federation's Assistant Regional Director for Southern Kentucky, explained that the city could stop planned protests at City Hall and The Pavilion by simply issuing an apology.
"In addition, should an apology and corrective action not be forthcoming, we call on Governor Beshear to rescind funding to The Pavilion and the City of Hazard in the spirit of his executive order prohibiting discrimination of LGBTI people in Kentucky government," he said.