Phyllis Sower

Phyllis Sower

I have a different perspective on the Gay Pride event than that expressed by The State Journal in its editorial ("Frankfort should be proud of Capital Pride Kentucky Festival," Oct. 15).

This event brought to town a featured group that made a mockery of my religion, promoted certain sexual behavior as speech in the public streets, caused first the Kentucky flag and later the POW/MIA flag at City Hall to be replaced by a Gay Pride flag, put City Hall effectively in the position of promoting hate speech and created a precedent for City Hall that might prove unfortunate.

Frankfort city government represents the local government of all the residents of Frankfort. The charter of the city does not include promoting sexual behavior (which in my view belongs in the bedroom, not on the public streets, not in drag shows at the library, not in foisting adult issues upon little children, not in mocking those men and women who have taken true vows of poverty, chastity and obedience).

A major attraction at the Pride event was the Kentucky Fried Sisters group ("Kentucky Fried Sisters: Clown nuns are here to help with Capital Pride" Oct. 9). Calling themselves part of “Sisters of Indulgence,” this group of men, dressed as nuns, mocked real nuns and blasphemed the Catholic faith to which I belong (nuns, known as women religious, are particularly associated with the Catholic Church and commit themselves to lives of holiness).   

Frankfort city government took a stand by flying the Gay Pride flag and thus promoting an event that is contrary to the values of most of the people it represents, especially those who follow orthodox Biblical truth. What is the purpose of our city government? It is a unit of local government established “in furtherance of a public purpose of the city and not in conflict with a constitutional provision or statute.” (KRS 82.082) Directly or indirectly promoting certain sexual behavior, discrimination against a religion and promoting hate speech are definitely in conflict within the city’s public purpose.

We don’t discriminate against gay people in Frankfort; the Fairness Ordinance was passed seven years ago without any demonstrated need for it. A stand was orchestrated by a few on behalf of a few with the result, as The State Journal recently reported, of no claims related to the real purpose of the ordinance. (The two claims brought were not only covered by existing legislation but also were dismissed, according to the report).  

What has happened here? The city was put in the position of expressing a viewpoint in a matter unrelated to its function. Not only was a viewpoint expressed, but the city was effectively put in the position of endorsing hate speech. Hate speech, according to Google, is “abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.” That is precisely what Kentucky Fried Sisters represented: hate speech — by mocking nuns whose lives are especially dedicated to God by their vows.

Also egregious is the removal first of the Kentucky flag and later the POW/MIA flag to accommodate the Gay Pride flag. What the city did was 1) replace the representation of all Kentuckians by removing the state flag and then 2) replace the flag that honors our military who have fallen or are missing in action. What a statement — to replace these flags with that of a small interest group!

Having done this, the city has set a precedent and now must allow all others to express their views so as not to engage in viewpoint discrimination (as defined by U.S. courts: witness the recent decision Our Lady’s Inn v. City of St. Louis).

Perhaps City Hall should make room for a fourth flag so that the Catholic Church could fly the yellow papal flag, the NRA could promote a gun show, the Communist Party could fly its hammer and sickle, or ISIS could fly its black flag, etc., etc., etc. Or, better yet, government should confine itself to what is truly a public purpose.   

Phyllis Sower, of Frankfort, is an attorney. Her husband, John, serves on the Frankfort City Commission. She can be reached at psowerlaw@netzero.net.

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