Thursday, March 15, 2018

Savannah LGBTQ Groups Speak Out

Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to appear at the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday March 17th in Savannah, Georgia which is the second largest such parade in the United States behind New York City & has been a tradition in the city for 194 years. St. Patrick’s Day has always brought controversy with the exclusion of LGBTQ groups from marching in most St. Patrick’s Day parades. In Savannah LGBTQ organizations have never been represented at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade nor have requests to be represented been responded to from the organizers. Representatives of Savannah Pride, First City Network, the Savannah LGBTQ Center & Dusty Church, Festival Director of Savannah Pride issued the following statement in response: “As members of Savannah’s LGBTQ community, we are troubled by our public officials’ welcoming of Vice President Mike Pence. Mr. Pence has proved himself to be one of the most anti-LGBTQ political crusaders to serve in government. As governor of Indiana, he led a concerted effort to deny equality to LGBTQ people, opposing gay marriage & signing into law a bill that made it legal for businesses to turn away gay & lesbian customers. As a member of Congress, he voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, co-sponsored a bill to define marriage between a man & woman & sought to cut off HIV funding to organizations that did not encourage the reprehensible practice of gay “conversion therapy.” These attacks have continued with at least 2 dozen actions by the current administration against LGBT people, including those serving in our armed forces. Ordinarily, there is no place for his brand of discrimination in Savannah. However, this weekend, he will feel right at home at the largest St Patrick’s Day Parade in America that discriminates against LGBTQ organizations. We Savannahians are proud of our diversity, so we welcome Vice President Pence to join our interracial gay families raising adopted children, trans service members proudly defending their country, queer artists inspiring creativity, immigrant students dreaming of a bright future with a same-gender spouse & the many other faces of the Hostess City that will be proudly lining the streets this weekend & we hope the St. Patrick’s Day committee, whose “Southern Hospitality” resembles Mr. Pence’s “Hoosier Hospitality”, will open their eyes & see us as well.”
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