After meeting with concerned LGBT citizens and with the two churches who had purchased vendor booths for the 25th Circle City Pride Festival this year, the organizers of Indy Pride have decided to return their booth fees and decline their attendance at the festival.
I’m very glad that this has been worked out, and that these two churches will no longer have a platform at the Indy Pride celebration to promote a “convert or go to hell” religious agenda. That was my main concern in writing about this issue. So often when LGBT people come out of the closet, they lose their spiritual anchor at the same time because their church doesn’t support who they really are. For those folks who might seek out other religious organizations to be a part of, they should have a reasonable expectation that churches with booths at the Pride celebration would be nurturing and supportive of them as LGBT people. And most of them do fit that criteria – but these two organizations skated under the radar, unfortunately.
Yesterday, members of the Indy Pride, Inc. Board of Directors along with a former Board Member, met with representatives of Castleview Baptist Church and A.C.T for the Gospel, Inc. along with concerned citizens who have raised questions about the participation of these organizations as vendors at the Circle City IN Pride Festival.
It was a very cordial discussion where the remonstrators were able to present their issues, and then both organizations were able to respond. It was then followed by a wide ranging discussion that was very insightful and reached beyond the narrow focus of the meeting, and in the end, everyone involved was grateful to be able to have the opportunity to sit down and discuss this matter at length.
After careful consideration and the exercise of due diligence in making our decision, the Board of Directors of Indy Pride, Inc. has decided it is in the best interest of the patrons of our Festival, the vendors themselves, and the Board to terminate the registration of these two vendors.
This decision is not one we have made lightly. Our mission is one to both honor the history of and celebrate the diversity in the LGBTQ community, so that we can create unity between members of our community and beyond. This sometimes means we allow in voices that may not be in agreement with our own. However, in the end, we made a decision based on the safety of everyone involved, and we are making steps to formalize a process to handle these matters in the future.
Nicholas A. Murphy,
Indy Pride, Inc.
I’m a little concerned that some board members are framing their decision as a public safety issue, rather than as a decision based on the incompatibility of these two churches with the fundamental meaning and goals of the Pride celebration. There was an implication that threats of violence were coming from people inside the LGBT community, which is disappointing, to say the least. I hope that if there were overt threats that they’ve been passed along to the police department to deal with.
I also hope that festival organizers will consider putting in place the suggestion of a “core beliefs” document that vendors would have to sign with their booth application, so that groups that have an agenda harmful to the LGBT aren’t able to get booth space in the future.