Organizers do not want ‘advocacy' or ‘controversy' at Days of '47 parade

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - A new controversy is marching onto Utah’s oldest parade.

The Days of ’47 parade has been out spoken about the pioneers that founded Utah, but one organization says they are pioneers also.

“Being apart of this great tradition of the parade is all about honoring pioneers who came before us. Who were cast out, who were marginalized, but who triumphed. That’s a real important story to LGBT people,” says founder of Mormons Building Bridges Erika Munson.

Mormons Building Bridges says all they want to do is advocate for the LGBT Mormon community. It is something that is against the rules of the parade.

“I don’t think that anybody should be discriminated against because of there beliefs. Especially for a parade,” said possible parade attendee Brandon Sowerby.

This parade will bring in a quarter of Utah’s population to Salt Lake City and St. George on July 24.

Mormons Building Bridges typically marches in parades with hundreds people. It is something they wanted to get away from.

“Mormons Building Bridges applied to the Days of ‘47 organizing committee to have a car titled Mormons Building Bridges celebrates Utah’s LGBT pioneers,” says founder of Mormons Building Bridges Erika Munson.

But organizers of the parade say it wouldn’t matter what organization applied, rules are rules and they need to be followed.

“This group certainly along with others falls in the area of advocacy and controversy and that’s not the purpose of the parade,” said Greg James, the Days of ’47 Executive Vice President.

Parade entry requirements state:

Entry applications will be rejected if the Parade Committee, in its sole discretion and judgment, determines an entry to be political, controversial, unlawful or otherwise inconsistent with the standards, theme or purpose of the Parade. Examples of unacceptable entries include, but are not limited to, the following: advocacy by political parties or candidates for public office, advocacy for legislative or other public policy initiatives, subject matters relating to sexuality, including polygamy and abortion, controversial religious matters and gun rights.

“If we admit one we have to admit all, then the parade devolves from our massage to messages of polarized of points of view and controversy,” says James.

“Love and support for our LGBT brothers and sisters doesn’t need to be a controversial thing. It is something that our religion teaches,” said Munson. “Every time the church reinforces its stand against same sex marriage, they also will have a statement showing love and respect to everyone. It is a very difficult thing to understand.”

It’s a difficulty that the non-profit organization does not want to deal with.

“The float is about our message. A message of hope, a message of strength, a message of pioneer spirit a message of founding this state and the reason it was founded. So we try and control the message of the parade because that’s the message we would like people to take away when they leave,” said James.

Good 4 Utah viewer Mikayla Keller says, “This kind of stuff is what causes problems. Why can’t everyone just be happy and be appropriate?”

Mormons Building Bridges says this should bring up another question.

“This is a really a great opportunity about whose parade is this? Utahns love this parade, we love this parade. Is it for decedents who were pioneers? Is it for LDS people or is it for all Utahns?” Munson added.

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