Kentucky juvenile justice department says it won’t change policy prohibiting anti-gay comments

The Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice on Friday said it’s standing by a year-old policy that prohibits anti-gay comments to youths held at the state’s juvenile detention centers.

The Liberty Counsel, a private religious group, threatened to sue the agency in a June 23 letter that said the policy violates the free speech of volunteers who want to counsel young inmates about homosexuality. The letter gave state officials until Friday to repeal the policy and reinstate David Wells, a Baptist minister asked to leave the Warren Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Bowling Green after he would not agree to restrict what he told inmates about their sexual orientation.

The Department of Juvenile Justice hopes to “foster an open and inclusive culture,” Commissioner Bob Hayter wrote in a letter on Friday to Richard Mast Jr., an attorney for the Liberty Counsel in Lynchburg, Va.

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