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Advocates push for fairness after lesbian couple claims discrimination

A young lesbian couple has started a big discussion after saying they were kicked out of a Richmond park, while taking pregnancy photos.

"There's been a lot of chatter about it, today," remarked Lynn Thompson, who has been an advocate for nearly five years for a Fairness Ordinance in Richmond. This ordinance would promote equality for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders.

However, Thompson says each attempt to push for the ordinance has been met with a "no."

"We've been told everything from they didn't have the funds to there was no need. With the incident that happened in the park, on Saturday, it indicates in a very public way that there is a very strong need."

Thompson and others rallied around Cheri Chenault and her partner Destiny Keith, after first seeing the story on WKYT.

"That could happen to me. We need the Fairness Ordinance to protect us (and) to feel safe again," described LeAnn Stokes.

"This instance in the park really pushed me to come here because this shows that we need one (ordinance)," added Emily Atwood, another advocate.

Today, Thompson was determined to approach the commissioners with a single purpose, saying this from the podium:

"The city can chose, here and now, to stand on the side of fairness and equality or it can chose to turn a blind eye on the abuse in this community and its visitors. My question for each of you, as commissioners and mayor, is to where you stand?"

Thompson was thanked for her time by the mayor, but there was no other response from any of the commissioners, which was a disappointing silence for Thompson and the other advocates.

"I was ignored. I asked them a direct question and it was not answered," stated Thompson afterwards.

Still, this advocate and the others say they are hopeful that one day a Fairness Ordinance will be heard, and until then she won't stop speaking up for couples like Chenault and Keith.

As for the E.C. Million Park, managers did not return our calls for a comment.


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