Two gay men with developmental disabilities enjoying a trip to a public pool in Hazard, Kentucky (Seriously.) were ejected by a maintenance technician at the facility and told “gay people were not allowed to swim there.”
Oh. Hell. No.
The two men were guests on Mending Hearts, Inc. – a group receiving Medicaid funding from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. When they entered the pool, they were ridiculed and told that “we own this place and can tell you to leave if we want to” by the staff at The Pavilion, a public pool funded by tax dollars. When pressed for a reason for the ejection, the two were told that the Bible justified banning gays from sharing public pools.
“The two gay males with developmental and intellectual disabilities were discriminated against by the staff of The Pavilion based on their sexual orientation,” added Kentucky Equality Federation Children of LGBTI Parents Outreach Director Julia Oiler Spiegel. “Not only was this an irreprehensible act by the staff, it was humiliating to these young men and their direct support staff. Both men are clients of Mending Hearts, Inc. which provides support for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Mending Hearts is diligent in providing ongoing support for their clients regarding appropriate behavior within the community and neither of these young men was exhibiting inappropriate public behavior as witnessed by their direct support staff.
Spiegel continued: As a gay parent of a child with a developmental challenge, I am outraged by this complete act of ignorance directed at these young men and their staff. As a public community service, the The Pavilion has a responsibility to provide equal treatment to all members of their facility and to properly educate their staff accordingly. A Biblical comment is totally inappropriate. All citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky should be treated with equality and respect, based not only on their intellectual abilities but their sexual orientation as well. This was a humiliating experience for both of these young men and will not be tolerated. I demand a public apology, not only these young men, but to the clients and staff of Mending Hearts, Inc. as well as the LGBTI community of Perry County.”
The Pavilion staff should be ashamed of themselves, and we’re betting they will be soon because what they subjected these two men to is completely illegal. When pressed for a comment, Hazard’s mayor stated that all were welcome at the public pool, which really only reiterates how completely screwed the employee and city of Hazard are going to be when this matter makes its way to court shortly. It’s almost as if Kentucky is taking discrimination lessons from Tennessee.
Our thoughts go out to the two men who were met with humiliation and ridicule for just trying to participate in a normal, everyday activity.
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