Scroll To Top

Rose Parade finds itself in the middle of gay controversy

Rose Parade finds itself in the middle of gay controversy

The newly elected president of Pasadena, Calif.'s Rose Parade, held every New Year's Day, says he was not trying to put himself in the middle of the furor over gay rights. But that is exactly what happened when he picked as the 2005 parade theme "Celebrate Family." Soon after last month's announcement, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association received a flurry of e-mails, calls, and letters from conservative groups and others worried that gay organizations might try to enter floats in the parade. "Homosexual activist groups are now trying to hijack the Rose Parade and are pushing themselves into this as a public relations stunt to try to switch topics away from family and toward the homosexual agenda," warned Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for California Families. The president of the Rose Parade organization, David Davis, said he picked the theme for the 116th annual New Year's Day parade to honor the volunteer families who make the event happen. "I guess you can call me blissfully naive," he said. "It's a simple idea that should be wholesome and all-American." So far, no gay organizations have stepped forward to say they will enter floats. In fact, gay rights activists said they have been caught up in a controversy that was not of their making. Lorri Jean, chief executive of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, denied any suggestion that the gay rights movement is "trying to make the Rose Parade bow to their will." Even if gay organizations did want to participate, Jean said, the cost might be prohibitive. Creating a Rose Parade float can run anywhere from $75,000 to $250,000. The Family Pride Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for gay and lesbian families, has discussed participating in the New Year's Day parade but has not yet decided whether to enter a float, spokeswoman Corri Planck said. Among those sounding the alarm is state senator William "Pete" Knight, a Southern California Republican who wrote Proposition 22, the 2000 voter-approved ballot measure that bans gay marriage. Knight said he fears gay and lesbian groups seeking to broaden the definition of family will use the parade, broadcast to millions of TV viewers nationwide, as a platform. "I would suspect that the homosexual community will take advantage of this," he said. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson also urged listeners of his daily radio broadcast to express their outrage. Davis's name, telephone number, and e-mail address were included in the broadcast and have been posted on the Colorado-based group's Web site. Bill Flinn, chief operating officer of the Rose Parade organization, said no organization will be excluded from participating. "This is a big family of people who come together to do the Rose Parade. The definition of family really sits with the individual," he said. "We are not defining family."

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff