A Northern California city has turned down a request on Friday to hold a “straight pride” rally at a local park.
Officials from Modesto, California, denied an application from the National Straight Pride Coalition on Friday after the organization requested a permit for space at Graceada Park for an August 24 event, the Associated Press reported.
National Straight Pride Coalition organizer Don Grundmann estimated 500 people would attend the event.
City officials initially denied the organization’s application for Graceada Park because it raised safety issues and the event organizers’ liability insurance had been voided, KTXL reported.
Despite the rejection, the city offered the group an alternative space near the city convention center provided the group proves it has the correct liability insurance and can file a permit by Tuesday.
“If you don’t have insurance, you can’t reserve one of our parks,” city spokesman Thomas Reeves told KOVR-TV.
The permit denial comes off the heels of a contentious Wednesday evening city council meeting at which critics said the organizers of the straight pride event are not promoting heterosexuality but are instead promoting anti-gay and anti-minority policies.
Chris Holland, who planned to counterprotest the rally with other Modesto residents, called the National Straight Pride Coalition “a thinly veiled hate organization.”
“They are dressing up their homophobic agenda as a celebration, which mocks everything that pride is about,” he said.
But organizers of the event say there is nothing to hide and that there is nothing wrong with celebrating heterosexuality.
“Everyone is trying to sensationalize this event and it’s going to be much like a church service,” Co-organizer Mylinda Mason of the National Straight Pride Coalition told KTXL. “I know everybody likes to go and celebrate sodomy but we actually want to celebrate heterosexuality.”