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Festival in Utah again allows once-barred LGBTQ groups

A large American-themed eagle blow-up passes by the crowd at the annual Grand Parade in downtown Provo on Tuesday, July 4, 2017. When blow-up floats passed by the crowd would scream "Spin" and the parade volunteers would run the float in a circle.

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Utah LGBTQ groups have been quietly accepted into a prominent July Fourth festival in conservative Provo after being denied for years.

The Daily Herald in Provo reports that five groups marched in the America’s Freedom Festival parade last year, but only after an initial refusal and high-profile dispute.

County officials threatened to pull $100,000 in taxpayer money from the privately-organized event until the groups were allowed to participate.

One was Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie, who recently came out as gay.

This year, all four groups that applied were accepted to march in parade festivities. Freedom Festival Executive Director Paul Warner says the process was smooth.

Actor Chuck Norris is a parade grand marshal along with Jennie Taylor, whose husband Maj. Brent Taylor was killed while deployed to Afghanistan.

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Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldextra.com