Mon June 9, 2014
Against ACLU's Wishes, City Council Takes Action
A month ago, parade organizers refused entry of a float from Mormons Building Bridges, an LDS LGBT-support group, to the annual Days of ‘47 Parade, claiming that it would cause too much political commotion.
This sparked a discussion within the Salt Lake City Council to intervene by sending a letter to parade organizers to reconsider. This action brought attention and disapproval from the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. Legal director for the organization, John Mejia, stated that sending the letter would be clear violation of the parade organizers First Amendment rights, because as a government entity the city council is not authorized to influence the contents of a publicly organized parade.
However, the city council opted to send the letter anyway, appealing to the sense of community that the Days of ’47 parade usually brings. In defense of the Salt Lake City Council’s actions, Chair of the City Council Charlie Luke said, “I think that elected officials have a responsibility to speak out on issues that are relevant to the communities in which they serve.”
Luke said there should not be any concern that the First Amendment rights of parade organizers was being infringed by the Council sending out the letter.
“We were simply exercising our First Amendment rights to ask them to reconsider.”
Approval of the float is still pending, with the final decision to be made by the Days of ’47 parade organizers.