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Provo’s Freedom Parade will allow LGBTQ groups to participate

PROVO – Five LGBTQ groups who were previously denied to participate in Provo’s Freedom Festival Parade will be included in the event.

The parade will be on July 4 and officials will work with the groups to provide a float in the festivities.

“It’s a win-win,” Freedom Festival spokesman Paul Warner said in an emailed statement Thursday evening.

Officials with Mormon’s Building Bridges tell the Deseret News that they will have a float, combined with groups like Encircle and QueerMeals.  Provo PFlag and Provo Pride will be part of the walking portion.

All five groups reportedly endorsed the agreement.  Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams says this is a positive step in the right direction

“We’re all Utahns.  We’re all Americans.  The Provo Freedom Festival is an opportunity for us to celebrate things that we have in common, and we all love this nation,” Williams says.

The once denied groups have agreed to let their American Pride show during the parade.

Williams says, “We kept hearing that the LGBT entries were not patriotic enough, which is really bizarre because there are photos of Star Wars floats going through the parade.”

Earlier on Thursday Freedom Parade organizers were telling the groups that were denied entry to the parade to adjust their applications and re-apply.

Provo PFlag, Provo Pride, Mormons Building Bridges, and the Encircle House were rejected when they tried to sign up for the event.

Brianna Cluck with Provo Pride says meetings with parade organizers over the past year have left them feeling excluded.

“America’s Freedom Festival, Inc. has tried everything they can to discriminate and break contracts they made,” Cluck said.

Cluck says Provo Pride welcomes anyone; regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

“We only wish that America’s Freedom Festival would extend us the same courtesy,” Cluck said.

In total, 22 groups had their applications denied. Parade organizers say all applicants are judged on the same entry requirements.