The glow of pregnancy didn’t protect Cheri Chenault from bigotry: A ranger who spied the expectant mom and her girlfriend having photos taken at a Kentucky Park ordered them to leave after he saw them sharing a brief kiss.
According to the photographer, the park attendant at E.C. Million Memorial Park in Richmond, Kentucky, stated “those type of people” were not welcome in the privately owned park.
“I had picked one of the flowers and was going to use it in the picture,” Jessica Miller-Poole, who was producing the maternity shoot, told the Richmond Register. “The gatekeeper said we were not able to pick the flowers. He left, and we continued to take pictures.”
Miller-Poole, owner of 13 Wishes Photography, says she then told Chenault and partner Destiny Keith she wanted to get a snapshot of them smooching: “They were a little reluctant, and they kissed so quickly that I wasn’t even able to take a picture of it.”
It was then that the ranger came back and ordered them to go, says Miller-Poole, who was there with her husband.
“[My husband] talked to the man and said that if it was because they were two women, that he wanted to know,” Miller-Poole said. “The man said, ‘Those type of people were not welcomed there,’” she said. “My husband ended up getting very angry and had to walk away.”
Miller-Poole said she conducts photo shoots at the park frequently and was trying to understand if she was banned from the park 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,’” she said. “I never understood why people make such a big deal about being treated differently until I was actually in the middle of it and witnessed it firsthand. It really bothered me and upset me to witness someone be so cruel.”
Unsurprisingly, the incident upset the expectant parents as well:
“I called my mom crying and my girlfriend, Destiny, was upset too,” Chenault said. “It took all I had to keep my cool because I just thought it was messed up that he could literally kick us out of the park.”
Sadly, the unnamed gatekeeper was within his rights to shoo them out, since Kentucky doesn’t have any ordinances protecting the LGBT community. “There is no statewide law or local ordinance in Richmond prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodations based on someone’s perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” explains Michael Aldridge, executive director of the ACLU-KY.
This gets us so steamed! If you’re within driving distance of Richmond, consider taking your dog to E.C. Million Park and having it do its business everywhere—leave a big ol’ mess for these bigots to clean up. (Hell, give Rover a nice big can of three-alarm chili first.)
If you don’t live in Kentucky—or don’t have a dog—consider sending Keith and Chenault some maternity items or a making a donation to ACLU Kentucky, The Fairness Campaign, K
Photo: Jessica Miller-Poole