Photo of Gov. Beshear at LGBTQ event stirs controversy among Republicans

State Senator Phillip Wheeler, (R) Pikeville, criticizes Democratic Governor Andy Beshear for posing with a group of drag queens at a LGBTQ rally in Frankfort. Wheeler was speaking to a group of Republican supporters in Elliot County.
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ELLIOT COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT)- Kentucky Republicans jumped on Governor Andy Beshear's decision to speak at a statewide LGBTQ rally last week, according to a report from the Lexington Herald-Leader.

In a video shared to the Rowan County Republicans Facebook page by Representative-elect Richard White, State Senator Phillip Wheeler (R-Pikeville) was shown telling White's supporters that Governor Beshear and the Democratic Party were "corrupting the values of children".

Wheeler then presented a picture of the Governor posing with a group of drag queens at the rally in Frankfort.

Beshear was photographed posing with drag queens from the Kentucky Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a charitable group that focuses on helping the LGBTQ community.

“Every single Kentuckian is welcome at the Capitol, and attacking the governor for taking a photo with a Kentucky citizen is shameful,” Beshear spokesperson Sebastian Kitchen told the paper. “Gov. Beshear is working every day to end the hateful and divisive politics that try to pit people against each other instead of focusing on what we have in common.”

Wheeler said Wednesday that his issue was not with the LGBTQ community, stating he has a gay relative. He says his problem was with their clothing.

“This is not only a fight for the soul of America,” Wheeler said. “It is a fight against evil, for just the forces of decency.”

“When you come in here with clothing and outfits that are just way out there, I have a problem with that,” Wheeler continued. “I think we expect a certain amount of decency and decorum in our Capitol.”

Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, said the governor was simply taking a picture showing that he welcomes all Kentuckians in the Capitol.

“The Kentucky Capitol is a place where all Kentuckians can go,” Hartman said. “It is a place where you should feel included and welcomed by those who represent us. I’m disappointed that not everyone shares these sentiments.”

“I have no problem with LGBT people being around children,” Wheeler said. “I love my relative, I let him be around my children. If he came around my children dressed like that, I’d rethink my choice.”

Representative-elect Richard White was elected Tuesday to fill the gap left by Democrat Rocky Adkins in House District 99. He is the first Republican to hold the traditionaly Democratic stronghold since the 1980s.

You can read the full report from the Herald-Leader by clicking here


Governor Andy Beshear poses with drag queens at an LGBTQ rally in Frankfort. Credit: Daniel Desrochers, Lexington Herald-Leader