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Iowa Mayor Approves LGBTQ+ Pride Month After Residents Speak Up

Iowa Mayor Approves LGBTQ+ Pride Month After Residents Speak Up

Cedar Falls and Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green

Residents and city council members criticized the mayor for forcing his religious views on the public before he changed his mind.

Following outrage from residents, the mayor of a town in Iowa reversed his decision to reject a proclamation recognizing June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

Mayor Rob Green spoke of his Christian values when announcing his decision not to support the measure last week.

Residents told the mayor they were embarrassed during a city council meeting on Monday. Others told him that they felt unsafe in a city that didn't support Pride, Green told the Washington Post.

In response, Green said he was one of “hundreds” of residents living in that area “who don’t understand” LGBTQ+ issues. However, he said, “We don’t have to agree in order to love each other and to try to understand each other,” and agreed to sign the proclamation to cheers from the assembled crowd.

Pride Month is observed across the country to commemorate the Stonewall riots of 1969.

“One of the mayor’s primary responsibilities is to ensure public safety and welfare, and it was evident from the many comments that I needed to take direct action to ensure the safety and well-being of my constituents in Cedar Falls,” Green told the Post. “When looking at the decision in those terms, signing was an easy choice to make.”

Green has been mayor of the town since January 2020. Cedar Falls Human Rights Commission asked Green to sign a letter proclaiming June as Pride Month in March.

Green told the paper that this is Cedar Falls’ first time making the proclamation official.

As a result, the Human Rights Commission hopes to raise awareness and provide support to LGBTQ+ communities.

“Pride Month … is an opportunity to take action and engage in dialogue to strengthen alliances, build acceptance and advance equal rights,” the resolution text read.

Green said last month that he could not sign on because of his Christian beliefs. The proclamation would instead be signed instead by a city council member if approved by the council.

After Iowa politicians, officials, and residents criticized Green on social media, the Monday night meeting at Cedar Falls’ city hall drew a large audience. One person defended Green’s ruling, but more than 30 residents criticized it, the Post reports.

In addition, there was a call to resign from some people who urged the mayor to step down.

“I do not think that your Christian faith should be on the table with your public duties,” an audience member told Green. “If it gets in the way, you do not belong in the mayor’s office.”

Following an hour of public comments, the eight-member city council expressed dissatisfaction with Green’s refusal to sign the proclamation.

“If I do one thing in four years, it’s going to be to vote for this and to stand up and say Cedar Falls is a great place to be for everyone,” said Gil Schultz, a council member. “It’s probably not the right place to say it, but if the mayor doesn’t sign this, I do say he should resign.”

According to Green, although he would not change what he believes, “we don’t have to agree to care.”

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