Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Utah: Freedom Festival Kicks LGBT Group Out of July 4th Grand Parade

Yesterday was Independence Day. I spent the holiday with my boys and several other family members (sadly, Husband Mark stayed behind because of work). We spent much of the weekend in the country side exploding fire crackers and other lite fireworks. But we also spent part of the July 4th at a small town parade celebrating our country's independence.

Fortunately, we weren't participating in the Provo Freedom Festival in Provo, UT. The group that organizes that celebration's Grand Parade decided at the last minute that the community's local LGBT center wasn't allowed to march:
The annual Provo Freedom Festival decided July 3 that a local LGBT resource center would not be allowed to walk in Grand Parade, according to Encircle: LGBT + Family & Youth Resource Center. The Festival, according to its website, "highlights freedom through bands, professionally crafted floats, giant helium balloons and local and national performers," while encouraging participants to "promote patriotism and traditional family values to around 300,000 spectators." 
According to a Facebook post by Encircle, the Festival revoked its previously approved application to participate because it is being classified as an advocacy group. Encircle disputes that classification, however, citing its status as a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Encircle has been in operations since Valentine's Day 2017 and offers community services, skills training, and counseling.

Encircle ended up hosting a pancake breakfast on July 4th instead.

Meanwhile, the Freedom Festival's executive director has announced that he plans to meet with Encircle's leadership sometime next week to discuss the situation.

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