Gay Men Kicked Out of Public Pool in Kentucky and Official Cites 'The Bible' as Reason

Two gay men with with developmental and intellectual disabilities were kicked out of a swimming area at The Pavilion, a government recreational facility in Hazard, Kentucky. The men were clients of Mending Hearts, Inc. which provides support for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, according to the Kentucky Equality Federation.

Pavilion The KEF says that the official that kicked the men out cited The Bible as the reason:

"The Pavilion staff immediately entered the pool area and asked my clients and their staff to leave the Pavilion," stated Shirlyn Perkins, Executive Director of [Mending Hearts]. "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." 

Kentucky Equality Federation contacted City Manager Carlos Combs, Mayor Nan Gorman and the Office of the Governor. 

A protest is being planned.

Said Kentucky Equality Federation Children of LGBTI Parents Outreach Director Julia Oiler Spiegel: "The two gay males with developmental and intellectual disabilities were discriminated against by the staff of The Pavilion based on their sexual orientation...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."

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  1. Again and again and again no matter how beautiful the US can be, she shows how ugly she is. America, you do realize the world is laughing at you?

    Posted by: Ted | Jun 13, 2011 3:44:58 PM

  2. Ugh I am so tired of these hateful hypocritical bible thumpers. This breaks my heart those 2 who are already looked at differently being treated this way. Its a known fact though that these bright individuals are a hell of a lot smarter wiser and more intelligent then people give them credit for. Ive known people with mental and developmental disabilities they are so wonderful and so smart people just dont realize it. I find it ironic that the bible speaks plainly that the greatest of all of these faith hope and love is LOVE.Even the bible states that LOVE is the greatest and most powerful.Yet these disgusting hypocrites continue to LIE and distort what the bible is all about. I say this from being a Christian for many years I am not a believer anymore myself.

    Posted by: Michael | Jun 13, 2011 3:52:03 PM

  3. Matt. 7:1

    "Judge not lest ye be judged" is also in the bible.

    Posted by: Xopher | Jun 13, 2011 3:55:06 PM

  4. How did the staff at the pool even know these guys were gay?

    Posted by: Derek Pearce | Jun 13, 2011 3:58:37 PM

  5. @XOPHER:

    Also true thats another thing I notice Christians are the most judgemental people in this world.They are constantly contradicting themselves and their precious bibles.

    Posted by: Michael | Jun 13, 2011 3:59:04 PM

  6. this man needs to be fired, no excuse

    Posted by: owen | Jun 13, 2011 3:59:56 PM

  7. All organized religion is evil. Some devotees of organized religion are really evil. The people who did this are the scum of the Earth.

    Posted by: ohplease | Jun 13, 2011 4:01:41 PM

  8. Forget organizing a protest. Organize a lawsuit and, when they win, take the publicly owned pool facility as damages.

    Posted by: Justin Tyme | Jun 13, 2011 4:06:53 PM

  9. Click on "The Pavilion" link and this is what the city site says "The City of Hazard and Perry County work closely together to improve the lives of their citizens. Perry County civic organizations which provide additional funding and support to the whole community are Hazard-Perry County Community Ministries, Inc., Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Hazard Women’s Club, and sororities."

    Guess they need to re-write the part about helping the "whole community". Ignorant jerks.

    Posted by: DAVE | Jun 13, 2011 4:10:24 PM

  10. But O! Let us not have SHARIA law in the USA.
    THAT would impose terrible limits on individual rights and freedom...especially for biblechristians.

    Posted by: gregory brown | Jun 13, 2011 4:10:42 PM

  11. The pavilion's e-mail address is Let them know how you feel and that the world is watching.

    Posted by: Thomas | Jun 13, 2011 4:11:03 PM

  12. @Ted, Hunh? Sorry, but you're saying that besed on waht? The rest of the world is such a bastion of gay and lesbian freedom and security? Don't make me laugh. You can't even say that about most of Europe (and I love Europe.)

    The whole world has long way to go for LGBT acceptance. Some places are ahead, but only marginally. If the world is laughing at the US, then it's because they don't yet realize that the joke's on them.

    Posted by: Frozen North | Jun 13, 2011 4:22:00 PM

  13. Sick.

    Definitely going to send a stern message to the pavilion. Truly unbelievable things like this continue on in 2011.

    Posted by: Francis | Jun 13, 2011 4:24:12 PM

  14. Jesus wept.

    Posted by: Kathleen | Jun 13, 2011 4:28:10 PM

  15. Something's missing from this story. Do we know what prompted the staff to kick them out? Was something going on? Was a comment made to a staff member?

    Posted by: Hawthorne | Jun 13, 2011 4:37:42 PM

  16. Technically legal, but a letter writing campaign would probably change their policy. Citing the bible is nonsensical on several levels. Also, all policies must be carried out uniformly, so any case they allowed a gay couple to swim in the pool and did not ask them to leave could be used against them.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 13, 2011 4:39:04 PM

  17. I'm betting that facility was built with federal tax dollars...

    Posted by: BobN | Jun 13, 2011 4:48:40 PM

  18. Is there a place where I can read more about this event? There seems to be holes in this story. As Derek Pearce asked above, how would you know these two men are gay? What, were they wearing Speedos? Were they holding hands? Kissing? Having sex? I'd like to know exactly what they were doing that was considered gay. Also, who is the person who confronted them? Name, please. He works for the government if this is indeed a government facility. And is there a specific law in Hazard that states gay people cannot use the city pool? And I'd also like to know WHERE in the Bible does it say gays can't swim in the pool (I've read the Bible and must have missed allt he passges about gay people and swimming pools.) Or is the laws of Hazard? If so, is it posted on their business who they do and do not allow into the city-funded pools? Muslims? Non-whites? Bisexuals?

    I'm sniffing a huge, fat lawsuit. Next season it would a private pool owned by these two men.

    Posted by: Bart | Jun 13, 2011 4:50:29 PM

  19. Bisexuals can wade in up to their waists (apologies to Groucho). These kinds of indignities are inflicted on LGBT people every day yet the hate groups claim that teh gays are bullies. I'm always amazed that these bible people are so callous and uncaring - I never learned that at Sunday school.

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Jun 13, 2011 5:13:34 PM

  20. Tried emailing but it was kicked back as unable to send. I just cannot believe what I'm reading. Having worked with people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, I know how important those small milestones can be, and how devastating an event like this could be to one's self-esteem. The people responsible for this vile and outrageous behavior need to be singled out and exposed as the ignorant asshats they are.

    Posted by: Jesus | Jun 13, 2011 5:17:56 PM

  21. I would like to see a second source on this incident please. There are a lot of unanswered questions.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Jun 13, 2011 5:20:59 PM

  22. It seems like the guy who did this, Mr Hayes, was a janitor or something (his job title is "maintenance technician." "Official" feels like maybe an overstatement.

    Still, there's no doubt that a culture of homophobia contributed to him feeling free to do it. It doesn't matter what these guys were doing--even if they were doing something that should have gotten them ejected from the facility, using The Bible as the excuse is reprehensible.

    The mayor's office needs to issue an official apology and condemn this action, otherwise they're as responsible as the low-ranking employee who perpetrated this nasty action.

    Posted by: Ethan | Jun 13, 2011 5:21:34 PM


    Posted by: David R. | Jun 13, 2011 5:30:23 PM

  24. I agree with the posters who see that something is missing in this story. How did the official know these two were gay? Were they acting out inappropriately in public? (I'm not talking about benign displays of affection here.) Does anyone know if developmentally challenged young adults(straight or gay) are more likely than others to engage is sexualized public behavior if they are somehow stimulated? Something provoked their expulsion, even if the officially stated reason is the typically offensive, Biblically-motivated nonsense. More details, please.

    Posted by: plinx | Jun 13, 2011 5:36:30 PM

  25. well...this is what I had intended to send, unable to however. Email link is bad, and none of the city officials have links for their emails.

    Dear Sirs,

    Having just read about the atrocities of discrimination and bias that have recently presented themselves at your facility, I must pause and ask why the representative of the Pavilion felt it necessary to act in such a manner. If we are to take to heart the words of the City/County website...."The City of Hazard and Perry County work closely together to improve the lives of their citizens"....and believe truly that ALL citizens fall into this category, then the City of Hazard and Perry County can be considered nothing more than hypocritical narcissists. To blatantly choose who is righteous enough to be granted the status of citizen is ridiculous.

    There must be some action taken to ensure that a situation such as this does not repeat itself. There is no place for religous zealots in a Government funded arena. The representative and staff that have created this situation should be ashamed of themselves. Would they want their children and loved ones treated in such a manner? Would you? I think not. Perhaps in the future, the new representative of the pavilion would be wise to take this into consideration.

    Thank you for your time.

    Posted by: Jerry | Jun 13, 2011 5:39:53 PM

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