Pro-Trump group miffed after being turned away from Charlotte Pride Parade

by: Brittney Johnson Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A local group is looking at possible action after they said their application to take part in the upcoming Charlotte Pride Parade was denied.

The group Deplorable Pride said it applied to have a float in the parade. The event draws more than 100,000 visitors and the found Derek Van Cleve said he wanted to celebrate pride and patriotism with performers. 

"Red, white and blue draped. Maybe 'Make America Great Again' slogan," Van Cleve said while describing the float.

Van Cleve told Channel 9 that he planned to have performers and drag performers dressed as Melania Trump and the Statue of Liberty on the float.

Van Cleve said three weeks after applying, he received a rejection email from parade organizers.

The email did not say why the group was being denied space but it believes that it's because of its political views. Van Cleve said the group hoped to show people that while the LGBT community tends to lean left, not everyone is against the president, and some love Trump.

"They've always included everybody, different religions, different races, so why are they not including people of different political views," Van Cleve said.

Van Cleve and his partner posted the rejection letter online and support started pouring in. Some comments called Charlotte Pride prejudiced and judgmental. 

A constitutional law professor told Channel 9 that Charlotte Pride has the right to reject Deplorable Pride from the parade. University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor John Szmer said two Supreme Court decisions (Hurley v. Irish American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston and Yeaw v. Boy Scouts of America) support the group’s right to deny participants who have a conflict with the group’s message.

Szmer said it’s a freedom of speech issue.

Charlotte Pride is a private group and he said they have the right to keep their vision and message intact and the group’s right would be violated if they were forced to accept a group with a conflicting message.

Deplorable Pride is seeking legal counsel to figure out how they can proceed after being rejected from the parade. 

The Charlotte Pride Board of Directors sent Channel 9 the following statement on June 7: 

Charlotte Pride reserves the right to decline participation at our events to groups or organizations which do not reflect the mission, vision and values of our organization, as is acknowledged in our parade rules and regulations by all groups at the time of their parade application. In the past, we have made similar decisions to decline participation from other organizations espousing anti-LGBTQ religious or public policy stances. 

Charlotte Pride envisions a world in which LGBTQ people are affirmed, respected, and included in the full social and civic life of their local communities, free from fear of any discrimination, rejection, and prejudice.  

Charlotte Pride invites all individuals, groups, organizations and causes which share our values to join our community's celebration of the LGBTQ community, history, arts and culture during the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade, Aug. 26-27, 2017. 

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