PETERSBURG, Ky. -- A progressive blogger and another man who tried to go to a special event at Kentucky's Creation Museum said they were denied admission because they told security that they were a same-sex couple.
The men bought tickets online for a Date Night event on Feb. 11 at the privately funded Petersburg museum, which shows visitors a literal interpretation of the Bible depicting how the world was created in six days about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago.
Both museum officials and the men denied admission agree that they weren't let in and not reimbursed the $71.90 cost for the tickets. They differ on whether it was clear beforehand that men without female companions would be turned away.
The event included dinner, musical performances and a talk from museum founder Ken Ham about love and the biblical view of marriage.
One of the men who was denied admission, Joe Sonka, is the writer of a blog called Barefoot and Progressive. He has previously criticized the museum and its founder, as well as the idea of giving public tax breaks for a proposed theme park the museum's backers want to build based on the biblical story of Noah's ark.
Sonka wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press that neither he nor the other man denied entry is gay. He said he was curious to hear the museum's founder speak and if they would admit a same-sex couple.
Museum spokesman Mark Looy told The Kentucky Enquirer that the promotional material for the Date Night made it clear the event was for heterosexual couples only.
"The message was one of Christian marriage, which the Bible teaches is between a man and a woman," Looy told the newspaper. He noted that the museum welcomes all visitors during regular hours. Sonka said he has visited the museum twice before without incident.
Looy defended the decision not to allow the two men in and cited a blog post that Sonka wrote in January, encouraging readers to raise money to send a "flamboyantly gay" couple to the event.
"We are not going to allow anyone to come to a private event and be disruptive," Looy told the newspaper. "It's not fair to the other people who also paid to attend the event. We welcome anyone to come to the Creation Museum during regular business hours because we want all people to be exposed to our message."
Sonka responded that the blog post was sarcastic, like much of his blog writing. He noted that he did not bring a flamboyantly gay couple to the event.
Jonathan Meador, a staff writer for the Louisville alternative newspaper LEO Weekly, was also involved in the dispute and wrote a story about what happened outside the museum. He told the Enquirer that the museum's website did not say it would deny men without female dates when promoting Date Night.
The dispute started when Meador, a female guest and a third man approached security. The third man told security he was waiting for a friend, who was Sonka.
Meador said the man told security personnel his friend was a man, prompting museum officials to deny him admission. Meador and his date were allowed in.
Meador said museum officials didn't break any laws, but feels they should have at least refunded the cost of admission.