Annual Owensboro Pride Picnic to Return Sunday

Jun 25, 2021
Creative Commons

The 7th Annual Owensboro Pride Picnic is returning to Daviess County on Sunday, June 25, for the first time since the pandemic began.

Organizer Emma Latta said she feels like the event has more support now than when she first started helping put on the picnic years ago.

"It's stronger now than it was back then. Because back then, it was still mainly everybody was still in the closet, and there wasn't very much support or movement for LGBT equality," Latta said.

She said, despite national progress, Kentucky still needs to do more at the state level to protect the LGBTQ+ community against discrimination.

For example, many cities in Kentucky have not passed anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ+ community known as Fairness Ordinances.

Creative Commons

Kentucky’s dispute with a Baptist adoption agency that turns away LGBTQ foster parents could be affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a Catholic organization that also rejects same-sex couples.

On Thursday, the high court sided with Catholic Social Services, a private agency that sued the City of Philadelphia for refusing to renew an adoption and foster care contract due to local anti-discrimination laws.

Kentucky has been locked in a similar battle with Sunrise Children’s Services, a Baptist organization that has so far refused to renew its contract because of a clause that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation

The fight has become a top priority for elected Republicans in Kentucky, who accuse Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear of violating the organization’s religious freedoms.

J. Tyler Franklin

A Kentucky state lawmaker is introducing legislation that would keep transgender women athletes from playing on women’s sports teams. 

Winchester Republican Rep. Ryan Dotson said he’s prefiling a bill that will exclude transgender women and girls from those teams for public schools in the state, including universities. The Kentucky General Assembly will consider it when the next session begins.

“Allowing transgender women to participate in women’s sports gives transgender women an unfair advantage,” he wrote in an emailed statement Thursday.

“The measure would designate that participation for all athletic teams, activities, and sports be based on the biological sex of students eligible to participate,” he said.


Kentucky Republicans are calling on Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear to renew a contract with a Baptist foster care and adoption organization that views homosexuality as sinful.

Sunrise Children’s Services, which has worked with the state since the 1970s, refused to sign a new contract earlier this year because of a clause that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Kentucky’s five Republican constitutional officers sent a letter urging Beshear’s health cabinet to reinstate the contract without such a clause, arguing that the state was coercing the organization to violate its religious beliefs.

In a statement, Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron wrote that Beshear is forcing Sunrise to choose between providing services and abandoning religious beliefs.

John Liu, via Flickr

A Tennessee bill aimes to prohibit textbooks that acknowledge the LGBT community, though the measure is unlikely to pass this spring. 

The measure would eliminate any instructional materials that would “promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender issues or lifestyles.” It’s one of several anti-LGBT bills moving through the legislature right now. 

Memphis Democrat Torrey Harris, an openly bisexual lawmaker, argued Wednesday this would erase important pieces of history. 

“This would eliminate me and one other member of this committee from even being mentioned in our textbooks,” said Harris.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed into law a controversial bill requiring students to prove their sex at birth in order to participate in middle and high school sports.

The bill, which Lee signed on Friday, makes Tennessee the third state this month to adopt legislation aimed at restricting transgender girls from playing female sports. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a similar bill on Thursday, as did Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves earlier this month. All three governors are Republicans.

Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has signed an ordinance banning conversion therapy for minors, an anti-LGBTQ practice that has been discredited by health professionals.

Louisville is the second Kentucky city to ban conversion therapy. Covington passed a similar ordinance earlier in the year.

Fischer said the measure will protect minors from serious physical and psychological harm.

“Our LGBTQ kids don’t need to be converted, they don’t need to be repaired. They need to be loved, supported and accepted for who they are,” Fischer said.

Ryland Barton

A bipartisan group of Kentucky lawmakers wants to ban conversion therapy, a discredited method used to try and change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

A proposal to ban the practice was heard during the legislature’s Interim Joint Committee On Licensing And Occupations on Tuesday.

Zach Meiners, a 30 year-old filmmaker Louisville, says he was forced by his parents to go to conversion counseling sessions twice a week for four years when he was a teenager.



LGBTQ individuals in Kentucky now have legal protections against being fired from their job on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

In a 6-3 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring sex discrimination in the workplace applies to gay, lesbian and transgender workers. 

The historic ruling from a conservative court was a welcomed surprise for Nicholas Breiner of Kentucky.  Breiner says he was fired from his job as a Montgomery County school teacher in 2017 after coming out as bisexual.

“Obviously for me personally and then the community as a whole, we’re seeing years and years of work finally come to fruition, albeit there’s still a long way to go," Briener said.

Updated at 5:52 p.m.

In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. The ruling was 6-3, with Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's first appointee to the court, writing the majority opinion. The opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's four liberal justices.

Lisa Autry

A Fairness Ordinance failed to pass the Daviess County Fiscal Court at its Thursday meeting. 


The ordinance would have offered legal protections for members of the LGBTQ population in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. 


The ordinance needed three votes to pass. The vote total was 2-2.


Daviess County Judge Executive Al Mattingly and County Commissioner Mike Koger voted in favor of the proposal.


County Commissioners George Wathen and Charlie Castlen voted against it.

Lisa Autry

Kentucky’s first anti-discrimination law protecting gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals was approved 20 years ago by the city of Louisville, ushering in a new era of LGBTQ rights. 

Since then, more than a dozen communities have passed what supporters call fairness ordinances.

Mark Twain once said “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Kentucky, because everything there happens 20 years after it happens anywhere else.”

LGBTQ individuals and their advocates are hoping Daviess County joins the national trend of protecting members of the group through a change in local law. Often referred to as a fairness ordinance, it would protect the LGBTQ population in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodations.  Gender identification and sexual orientation would be added to an existing law barring discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, and age.

Sergio Martinez-Beltran | WPLN

The Tennessee Senate reconvened Tuesday and jumped into one of the most controversial issues left over from last year. 

Lawmakers approved a measure that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse child placements based on moral beliefs.  

Some lawmakers worry about the economic implications. Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, says he fears Tennessee will experience a corporate backlash over the adoption legislation, which he says discriminates against LGBT couples.



The Kentucky Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit against Lexington T-shirt maker Hands On Originals, which refused to print T-shirts for a 2012 gay pride festival on religious grounds.

The court did not address the main arguments of the case, instead ruling that Lexington’s anti-discrimination ordinance does not protect groups who feel they have been discriminated against — only individuals.


Becca Schimmel

Western Kentucky University is hosting a support group this semester for LGBTQIA+ students.

LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Allies. The plus sign at the end of the phrase is meant to include anyone who doesn't feel covered by the other terms. 

Katie Knackmuhs, a WKU counselor who is helping lead the group, said the goal is to create a supportive environment for students to develop a deeper community and maximize their collegiate experience.

She said some LGBTQIA+ students who arrive on campus are struggling with a lack of acceptance back home.