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Wed Oct 2, 2019, 05:05 AM

Gay rights activists question why Johnson County polling place was moved to Catholic church

A Johnson County polling place was unexpectedly moved to a Roman Catholic church, and some elected officials, candidates and gay rights activists said alarm bells were set off.

In November, voters in Roeland Park’s 2nd Ward will cast ballots at St. Agnes Catholic Parish, a shift after years of turning out to vote at Horizon Academy, a private school serving students with learning disabilities.

County elections officials said the relocation was routine, adding that the former site had heating and electrical issues. Churches often serve as polling locations.

But many fear the move to St. Agnes creates a conflict, citing the church’s stance against homosexuality. One candidate, Leonard Tocco, is a parishioner at the church, and his wife is a teacher at the parish school. His opponent, Benjamin Dickens, is openly gay.

“I don’t have a problem with it being a Catholic church … but when you move it to a church that one of the candidates attends, and when the church has a history of being anti-LGBT, the optics themselves are eyebrow-raising,” said state Rep. Brandon Woodard, a Democrat from Lenexa and one of the first openly gay legislators in Kansas. “Do I think the election office did this maliciously? No. But I would hope they would consider the optics of this.”

Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article235501092.html

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