Organizers of two of Utah’s most popular parades have rejected a Mormon LGBT group’s request to participate for the second straight year.
Organizers of the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake City and the Freedom Festival Grand Parade in Provo denied the bid by Mormons Building Bridges to take part in the festivities.
Greg James, executive vice president of the Days of ’47 said the decision was based on its belief that Mormons Building Bridges is an advocacy group.
The rules for the July 24 parade forbid advocacy groups of any kind "whether it's a group you might agree with or don't agree with. We don't do anything that's advocacy. This one is advocacy," he told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Both parades are operated by private nonprofit foundations. The Days of ’47 parade commemorates the arrival of Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley.
Erika Munson, co-founder of Mormons Building Bridges, said she believes her group’s message of inclusion and love is consistent with values espoused by the Mormon church. She said she was disappointed by the decision.
Mormons Building Bridges was founded in 2012 with the goal of improving the relations between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the gay community. The group is nonpartisan.
"We were hoping that last year we really got a conversation going and that this year, a lot of the unwillingness to look at the LGBT community as part of our community would fall away," Munson told The Tribune.
"I'm afraid that the parade committees for Days of '47 and the Freedom Festival are isolated, which is a shame. These need to be parades for all of Utah," she added.
In line with the Days of '47 Parade's theme of "Pioneers — Forging a New Frontier," Mormons Building Bridges had proposed a "Utah's LGBT Pioneers" entry. It would have featured six LGBT leaders from business, education and public service riding in an antique convertible.
The group's plans called for military veterans who are gay or transgender to march in the Provo parade.
The Associated Press contributed to this report