Mormons Building Bridges was last year’s largest entry in Salt Lake City’s annual Pride Parade. But the group’s request to have a modest presence in the Days of ’47 Parade this year has been turned down.
Mormons Building Bridges promotes understanding and acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It went to the Days of ’47 parade committee with a proposal to include six to eight people riding in an antique car. They would join the bands and floats in the parade on July 24th, when Utah celebrates its Mormon pioneer heritage.
Erika Munson, the founder of Mormons Building Bridges, says they got the news last month in a phone call from Days of ’47 parade co-chair Jodene Smith.
“They said that we were not within the guidelines of the goals of the parade," Munson told KUER, "and they also used the word ‘controversy,” that they want to avoid ‘controversy’ in the parade and they perceived us as being controversial.”
Days of ’47 is a private, non-profit entity that runs many of Utah’s Pioneer Day celebrations. It gets some funding from the LDS Church Foundation as well as from commercial sponsors.
Parade officials did not respond to KUER’s request for comment, but Days of ’47 Executive Vice-President Greg James told the Salt Lake Tribune the rules are very specific in prohibiting any entry “that would create controversy.”
Last June, about 400 people dressed in their Sunday best to march under the Mormons Building Bridges banner in Salt Lake City’s Pride Parade.