A prominent gay rights activist is running for the Louisville Metro Council seat being vacated by Democrat Tina Ward-Pugh.
The Boy Scouts policy regarding youth members will change effective Jan. 1, but it still prohibits LGBT individuals from being scout leaders.
This past summer, Bourke and his partner, who were married in Canada, filed a federal lawsuit challenging Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage. That case is scheduled to have its first hearing in late January.
But Bourke isn’t running for the council’s 9th District seat to advance LGBT rights necessarily. Rather, he says the campaign is about improving Metro Government’s fiscal state.
“I’m reading about some of the problems the city is having with the Yum Center and bonds and finances, and I think that a candidate like myself who has a background in business I think I have the kind of skill set that will help assist our council and our city government in dealing with issues like this, and moving forward in a responsible way,” he says.
Bourke is running as a Democrat, and will face attorney Chris Hartley in the May primary. The district includes the Clifton Heights, St. Matthews and Crescent Hill neighborhoods.
In December, Ward-Pugh surprised observers when she announced her retirement from the council.
Bourke says he is studying a number of Ward-Pugh’s initiatives in the district and other issues before the council. Asked if his activist background could play a role in the contest, Burke says he hopes it won’t be the focus of his supporters or opponents.
“I don’t believe that my past advocacy for gay rights will be a significant issue in my campaign or the campaign for his open seat,” says Bourke. “It may have helped people be more aware of who I am and what types of activities I’ve been involved with in the past. I’m rather proud of the work that I’ve done with the Boy Scouts, both as a Boy Scout leader and as an activist to reform that organization.”
Republican Laura Rice has also filed to run for the seat.