Officials with an LGBT center in Provo, Utah, say the center was wrongly denied permission to participate in the city’s Fourth of July parade.
The permit for Encircle: LGBT+ Family and Youth Resource Center was revoked Monday, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Organizers of the America’s Freedom Festival Parade had granted the permit several weeks ago, then revoked it because they considered Encircle an “advocacy group.”
Executive director Stephenie Larsen said that because of its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, Encircle is not allowed to do partisan political advocacy. “We are simply a resource center for these kids and their families,” she told the Tribune. “I just think it’s unfortunate. We just want to be good members of this community.” About 100 people were scheduled to march in Encircle’s parade contingent in the heavily Mormon city, which is home to Mormon-affiliated Brigham Young University.
Encircle is less than six months old, so this would have been its first Freedom Festival Parade appearance. Local media could not immediately reach parade organizers for comment, but the organizers posted a statement on Facebook saying, “We hope we can come to an agreement that will provide us the opportunity to have a relationship with Encircle in the future.” The parade is sponsored by a private, nonprofit group that receives both private and public funding.
Encircle officials posted their own Facebook statement, saying in part, “We respect the decision of the parade committee and will use this as an opportunity to show Provo who we are. We will always come from a place of love and intention, never fear or reaction. We are here to be a safe space for all, which means being planted firmly.”