MIDDLETOWN — The executive director of the Community Pregnancy Center confronted Middletown leaders and city council members for what she called a lack of response to last month’s Pride event for the LGBTQIA+ community and supporters.
Candice Keller, former state representative, used her four minutes allowed during citizen comments at Tuesday’s council meeting to share her concerns after watching and photographing a drag show as part of Pride on June 23 at Governor’s Square in the downtown area. She posted graphic pictures of the performers on her Facebook page, and in response, nine LGBT community supporters spoke in support of the event and drag show at the July 5 city council meeting.
Then on Tuesday night, Keller responded by saying she was most concerned by the number of children in the audience who gave the drag performers money. She estimated half of the crowd was minors.
Police Chief David Birk received a letter on June 26 from Keller outlining her concerns. He earlier told the Journal-News that he discussed the obscenity issue with the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office, Butler County Children Services and juvenile detectives and they told him laws were not broken during the Pride event and drag show.
“I won’t waste time by asking you to define obscenity,” Keller told council members. “It is not your place to define it nor is it our police chief’s job to define it. It is your place to create law to stop any public nuisance that is harmful to our children.”
Keller said the “sexist public behavior” condoned by the City Council is “beneath the dignity of the office” they hold.
“Your not addressing it is addressing it,” she said. “Your not speaking is speaking.”
She said since the majority of the cars parked in downtown Middletown on June 23 were not from Butler County, those in attendance probably don’t live in the county, so they didn’t vote for council members.
“But we do vote and we voted for many of you,” she said. “What in the world are you afraid of?”
Many of the five council members own businesses, are of families who have owned businesses or attended Christian schools and universities, she said.
“Shame on you,” she said.
Keller urged council to not support an event “bent on destroying the innocence of our children. Have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world. You have the power to change Middletown.”
She wanted the council members to address her concerns during the meeting, and when that didn’t happen during council comments, she left the meeting.