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."

Comments

  1. Ted says

    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?

  2. Michael says

    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.

  3. Michael says

    @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.

  4. DAVE says

    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.

  5. gregory brown says

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

  6. Frozen North says

    @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.

  7. Hawthorne says

    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?

  8. anon says

    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.

  9. Bart says

    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.

  10. Hue-Man says

    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.

  11. Jesus says

    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.

  12. Ethan says

    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.

  13. plinx says

    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.

  14. Jerry says

    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.

  15. Jerry says

    This is the information for the Mayor of Hazard County.

    City Hall
    700 Main Street
    Hazard, KY 41701

    P.O. Box 420
    Hazard, KY 41702
    (606) 436-3171
    Fax: (606) 436-3252

  16. Rin says

    @Plinx,

    there are a lot of sexual acts that happen with developmentally challenged individuals, but that is part of their condition. Having worked with the CFEC in high school we saw nudity, touching, kissing and had to redirect their focus elsewhere.

    The fact that this swim period was for those with challenges meant that someone familiar with the behavior poles of disability should have been either put in charge or the staff should have been made aware of how to deal with it appropriately.

    Also, kids pee in pools. That’s probably not kosher, either.

  17. says

    I just called The Pavilion and the women who answered the phone was very nice and said that they welcome all people, including gays. When pressed about the recent event she said she was unaware of it and that to her knowledge no gay people have ever been kicked out of the pool, quote “unless they were making love in there or something–and that sometimes happens.” She went on to say that she knows of no policies to exclude anyone from the facility and all are welcome.

    Sounds like this was possibly a mistake on behalf of the “maintenance technician” expressing his personal beliefs and/or not handling a possibly affectionate situation between two people with developmental disabilities.

    And yes an apology is due… AND an update, according to KYEquality.org they have indeed apologized and said all are welcome…

  18. Steve says

    Disgusting, but probably not illegal, especially in Kentucky. I think we should all go there and pee in their pool and tell them we did and it will gayify them.

  19. steve says

    Hmmmmm. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong; but in all of the Theology classes I took in college, we never covered the passage that talked about removing gay people from a public pool. Spent some time this evening….but the chapter on God and public pools and queers is missing. Strange. Old and New Testaments, too.

    There’s actually a great article somewhere on CNN entitled, “Actually, that’s NOT in the Bible…”, which covers tons of misquotes of scripture, and oft-quoted sayings that are attributed to the bible that aren’t in the bible.

    Funny thing is – any TRUE follower of the message of Christ as told in the Bible – spiritually or simply historically, knows that he wasn’t a separatist. He was about inclusion. The people he railed against were these same types of assholes.

    Don’t even get me started on the fact that these people were developmentally or intellectually challenged.

  20. Hugh Mc Afee says

    This is also in the bible; Jesus said “What you do to the least of my brothers you do to me” Remember all of us are Angels Unaware!

  21. Rick says

    Does this remind anyone else of the days of Whites Only drinking fountains, no service at the lunch counter and relegation to the backs of city busses. Cooooommmmeeee onnnnnn PEOPLE! Where are your thinking caps? Duuuuuhhhhhh!

  22. Jim says

    This story absolutely makes me sick. I have a family member with Down’s Syndrome and remember from his youth how touchy/feely he was and loved hugs. Sometimes hugging resulted in a little woody; he loved to hold hands. Persons with Down’s tend to be very affectionate. I dont’ know if these boys/men have Down’s but maybe it was this harmless behavior that resulted in the eviction and caused these men undue humiliation and embarassment…and they haven’t the foggiest. I have to stop now because I’m going to start to cry.

  23. kodiak says

    Ummmm, it’s not a private pool, it’s a public pool. Seems that is the crux of the issue. An individual cannot kick people out of a public place for “being”. Private vs. Public property. Someone made a big booboo.

  24. theotherlee says

    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

    Gregory,

    What the heck does that have to do with this situation??

    I hope the janitor is at least fired over this. Has anyone found an update to this anywhere else?

  25. Sean says

    Many of you seem to be under the mistaken impression that discriminating against gay people is illegal in Kentucky. It’s completely legal — the state has no protections for gay people.

  26. Ugh says

    I think Jesus would seriously want to bitchslap all of his “modern” followers. They take his message of infinite love for all mankind and twist it into something evil and vile.

  27. esther williams says

    Someone needs to organize a gay pool party in Hazard — every weekend this summer.
    C’mon Kentucky gays — now is your chance to lead the charge.

  28. Evan says

    I am from this area and have been to this pool before i have also taken some homosexual mentally handicapped individals from a group to swim there before as well. This is a small community its possible someone just knew that they were gay or that they displayed somewhere by hand holding or something like that. I doubt it was anything inappropriate because this establishment has been taking individuals from group homes for years. I’m sure they have seen it all. Anyone who works with the mentally challenged can tell you in public you will have some behavioral issues, this is why I am sure this wasn’t the case because they have seen it before and any group home company/staff would have made their individuals leave themselves if there were.

  29. Stephen says

    I will guess he kicked them out because of what the Bible says as with him being a Christian he follows every word it says. I was raised Southern Baptist and yes I am a gay man but it still amazes me the people who cant understand what a Christian is and what they are trying to archive is to be more Christ like only to fail by doing the opposite. Only two rules you have to follow, do unto others as you would have done unto you, and love your neighbor as yourself. If what you are doing does not follow these two rules then oops you got it wrong and you should read the Bible again as Jesus hung with all the wrong crowd and he never judged or hated just loved and it is shocking to see all the hate prevailed in his name.

  30. says

    There’s more to this story that’s being conveniently left out. From the neutral website Kentucky.com:

    “The city’s attorney, however, said the facility does not discriminate, and ‘there is a dispute as to the facts of what transpired.'”

    Not surprising. What was left out? Let’s see…

    “Paul Collins, the city’s attorney, said that he is still investigating, but based on initial information, “there seems to be a wide disparity between the versions of the events.”

    Collins said a lifeguard said he saw the two men repeatedly hugging and kissing in a corner of the pool.

    ‘The staff at the Pavilion report to me that they do on some regular basis caution or warn individuals about excessive public displays of affection and that these warnings are given regardless of sexual orientation,’ Collins said.”

    Fascinating. I take it he’s saying they were engaging in this behavior inside of the pool. If true, the staff was justified in ejecting the lewd couple and those of you playing the “gay card” owe these people, and the entire state of Kentucky, an apology.

  31. Will Taylor says

    The protest will take place on Saturday June 18, 2011 at 8am at The Pavilion in Hazard, Ky. For further info. Please contact me at 606 671 7197

  32. Get the facts says

    First of all, I have worked for organizations such as Mending Hearts. In these organizations, the Individuals that are clients are to have NO contact with other clients. It’s a rule. These Individuals are mentally handicap and are suppose to have an aid that watches and assists them 24/7. Where was the aid that was suppose to be supervising these individuals at the time??? Secondly, everyone is so quick to point fingers and say that the two individuals were just hugging, or kissing, but where you there? How do you know what they were doing? Until you have ALL of the facts, it’s not right to choose one side over the next. In my opinion this whole situation was blown out of porportion by an aid who wasn’t watching the Individuals like they were suppose to, and the Individuals got out of hand and the aid was afraid that they would lose their job over it..

  33. ROADDAWG says

    THIS IS SO DUMB . IF ANYONE HAS EVER READ THE REAL BIBLE THEN THEY KNOW THAT IF DOES SAY ANYTHING ABOUT PEOPLE SWIMMING IN POOLS STR8 OR GAY OR BI SEXUAL ETC

  34. Ninong says

    I looked it up in a special edition, official Hazard, Kentucky bible:

    Leviticus 20:13: “If a man has sex with a man in the same way as with a woman, they have committed an abomination. They are certainly to be put to death. Their blood is on their own heads and they shall not be allowed to swim in the community swimming pool lest it get contaminated with gay blood.”

  35. billmiller says

    Welcome to the south! How many of you reading this voted republican?? Throw them all out! Hate reigns with faux news, the tea baggers and the republicants.

  36. dandydd says

    This came from the Hazard Herald, the local newspaper in a story about the protest that is being called for by Kentucky’s Equality Federation.

    “They got out (of the pool), got in their chairs where they can smoke, and one of them sat down on the other one’s knee, with his arm around his neck,” Adams said.

    That’s when Adams said a staff member with the Pavilion asked the men to leave, saying “we own this place,” and can tell anyone they want to leave. Adams said she was informed the staff member told the men “to go home and read their Bible and go to church.”

    “I’m only beginning to investigate, but have already been told by an eye witness who was an observer, a great deal of hugging and kissing and that sort of thing was going on in the pool,” said Collins, who noted that he also learned 30 to 40 people were around the pool at the time and hopes to also speak with other eye witnesses. He added that this policy barring excessive public displays of affection is “uniformly applied.”

    “Whether they’re a boy and girl, or another type of couple doesn’t matter,” he said, and anyone engaging in public displays of affection while at the Pavilion should be asked to stop, per the rules of the facility.

    Hazard Mayor Nan Gorman said it is her understanding that people are asked to leave fairly often due to the rule barring excessive public displays of affection, no matter their sexual orientation. She said the Pavilion should have a family atmosphere and displays of affections, whether they be from heterosexual couples or otherwise, shouldn’t take place there.

    “People have little children up there, it’s a family [facility],” she said. “People don’t want to see it.”

    hmmmm….

  37. Tyron says

    My money says that the bigots of Hazard will ultimately close the pool altogether rather than allow gay people to use it. This will of course totally piss of the rest of the residents and result in even more hatred being directed at the gays, specifically these two men, in the town.

  38. Augie says

    It is the bible thumping janitor who claimed “we own this place.”

    It his his and his ilk’s intellectual & spiritual constipation that probably thinks one man helping another learn to swim was what a bible thumping POS needs to make the petty little man have power over others with accusations that inflame.

    Hard core bible thumpers like this janitor also have a deep aversion to handicapped people due to biblical edict…he may have used “blame the gay” issue as a front for what he knows would get him fired: discrimination against the handicapped.

  39. Francis says

    Ultimately, the fact is, the maintenance man and staff kicked out these 2 guys because they were gay. That is what this comes down to. They were kicked out because of their sexual orientation. That was made clear when he brought up the Bible. And in saying “we can kick you out for whatever reason we want.” Statements like “this is a family facility” are what homophobes say when implying homosexuality is immoral.

    What happened to create this situation is one thing. What happened as a result is another thing entirely, and wholly unacceptable. Hopefully Kentucky gays and supporters come out big in the protest and make it known they won’t be spit on in this fashion.

  40. Drew says

    Gross. I really hope this story gets national media attention so maybe there would be pressure from everyone toward this small city to fire that worker and make a public apology.

  41. Rin says

    @Francis,

    he said what he said because they were gay, but if they were having sexy times in the pool they were kicked out for potentially causing a disturbance to the peace.

    Can we all get real a moment? Straight, gay, whatever…people are ALWAYS trying to get away with stuff they shouldn’t in pools. From peeing to masturbation to actual sex…quit acting like this doesn’t happen wayyyyyy too often.

    If they were special needs then their caretaker should have watched over them and guided them gently to more appropriate behavior so some horrified man didn’t say what he said to them.

    Personally, public pools ick me out because people DO pee in them, jerk off in them, and have teh sexy times in them. I wish more people (mostly teens) would understand the rest of us don’t want to swim through peepee and love juice.

    In this case, pretty much everyone is in the wrong, but least wrong are people with mental handicaps.

    Both caretaker (for not watching them) and janitor (for phrasing it meanly) should get the axe.

  42. NaughtyLola says

    To the folks saying “how did they know?” the mayor’s comments offer a clue. She said that nobody is permitted to be physically affectionate with each other, so it seems reasonable that the two men in question were canoodling in some way no matter how tame it may have been.

    That’s not to excuse the person who did this to them in any way, that was shameful and cruel, but at least according to the mayor their policies are consistent. She sounds like she’s on the level, and there’s no reason other than simple prejudice about Southern folk or elderly folk that she is anything other than reasonable.

  43. Francis says

    I agree Rin with everything you said, can’t say anything otherwise. With that said, the reason that was given to kick these men out wasn’t because of the fact that one of the boys sat on the lap of the other one. The reason that was given was that these men were gay. That is the big issue at hand here. Also, are they consistent with their rules and regulations regarding physical contact between those who go to the pool? That’s something that may be true, but may not be either. It’s something that needs to be investigated.

    Also, the fact they were mentally disadvantaged guys should have obviously elicited more sensitivity and understanding in this situation, and instead what was shown was heartlessness and cruelty. You’re again right, Rin, their caretaker didn’t do a sufficient job taking care in this case.

    Ultimately, again, if the reason given were “PDA” or there were warnings given to these men to stop their behavior as it went against the rules of the pool, then that is one thing. But that’s not what happened here and that cannot be forgotten. They were ultimately kicked out of the pool, for being gay.

  44. says

    Apparently, this fool thought that “because TEH GAY” is something you can “catch,” it might contaminate everyone else at the pool that day for these two gentlemen to swim there, and he just wasn’t ready for an impromptu gay pool party.

    Crikey…

    While I do agree that there are some informational omissions here that make me curious, nonetheless the entire manner in which this was done is utterly reprehensible. I hope apologies are issued, and the people responsible for this blatant homophobia and nonsensical religious garbage are fired.

  45. Brian says

    I live in central Kentucky and my grandfather’s huge family came from Harlan, a county away from Hazard. I’m gay and love to visit that area. I’ve also visited Perry County with my (super-flamer drama queen) best friend a couple of times. We never ran into being looked down at or talked down to. The people we encountered seemed more live-and-let-live.

    Even around my area, there are “holy rollers” who aren’t that bad if you can avoid them. They’re everywhere but thankfully don’t often get in your face or harass you in a way you can’t just walk away.

    I’m thinking that some high-and-mighty parent said something to the Pavilion worker quoting bible verses about gays. That’s probably where he got the idea, since the guys weren’t being very explicit (from everything I’ve read).

    Also, the Pavilion worker that did the deed, along with his “higher-up” (for cussing at news crews wanting comment) were suspended without pay. Not sure how long it will last, but at least they did something.

  46. William says

    Was this article written by a professional like a lawyer? I am asking because the article is extremely miss leading. There are many reasons why the two mentally impaired gay men were kicked out of the pool, and I doubt those reasons have been stated yet on here. From reading the article, one of the men said “The man stated that what he was doing was in the Bible and he could do it” is very unclear of what they meant. I don’t hold the article to be very truthful. I believe there is something else to be discovered and it has nothing to do with being gay.

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