Thursday, June 09, 2011

Indiana Family Institute Upset IMPD Will Participate In Circle City Pride Parade

After a legislative session ended with the successful passage of the first in a two-stage legislative process of passing a constitutional amendment to enshrine the discrimination of same-sex marriages in the Indiana Constitution, the Indiana Family Institute is turning its attention to what has become one of Indianapolis' largest summer celebrations downtown. That would be the Circle City Pride Parade and Festival held in Downtown Indianapolis. Nearly 50,000 gather for the annual event held at the American Legion Mall. The Indiana Family Institute objects to IMPD officers' participation in the parade that accompanies the event on Saturday. From Fox 59 News:

A first for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. They will show their support for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender community by marching in the pride parade on Saturday.
We're all used to seeing the motorcycle drill team in the Indianapolis 500 Parade and the mounted units at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, but for the first time ever our officers will actually be participating in the Gay Pride Parade.
Indy's Gay Pride Parade has come a long way since 2005 when it featured one float and a few drag queens. Fast forward six years, and spectators can expect to see hundreds of attractions, crowds in the thousands and now members of our city's finest marching right in the middle of the action.
The uniformed officers will be riding in the department issued Humvee and have specific direction to not decorate the car, change the car in any way or add anything to their uniforms.
But the fact that the officers will be participating while on the clock is troubling some. "The majority of Hoosiers and probably the majority of folks in Indianapolis if they actually went to the Gay Pride Parade and see the activities that goes on there would be shocked to see our taxpayer dollars going to have our men and women in uniform through the police and fire department march in that kind of a parade," says Ryan McCann of The Indiana Family Institute.
McCann says our officers are hired to protect and serve, not to endorse an alternative lifestyle."They don't sign up for gay pride parades and all that entails with men in police uniforms being howled at by homosexuals."
IMPD spokesperson Linda Jackson says the department doesn't think having officers march in the parade is controversial. "I don't think its an issue of the politics or an issue of anything like that. This is a parade that we would participate in. Anybody who's going to be there is there through the course of their employment in the department."
In actuality, IMPD officers have participated in the parade and festival activities for many years in a volunteer capacity. I know this will come as a shock to the Indiana Family Institute, but there are a fair number of IMPD officers who are gay and lesbian. If anyone has any complaints about IMPD's participation in any special cultural events, it should be Black Expo's Summer Celebration, an event that draws fewer people but requires taxpayers to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to pay overtime to provide extra police protection to control the mayhem that ensues like clockwork every year when that event takes over downtown for a week, frightening away many people from patronizing downtown businesses, some of which would just as soon close down while the event is going on to avoid all of the criminal problems associated with it. Despite the Circle City Pride event being the largest downtown event next to the 500 Festival Parade, police report few, if any, arrests during the event. Downtown businesses actual welcome this event because it brings lots of people into the downtown area that help fill up the hotels and spend money in restaurants and stores.

UPDATE: As usual, Mayor Greg Ballard will avoid the Circle City Pride celebration like the plague. It's just pure stupidity for a big city mayor to skip year after year one of the biggest summer events in his city. His Democratic opponent, Melina Kennedy, will not only be in the parade but mingle at the festival like she did last year. He broadcasts loud and clear that he is not comfortable representing all of the people who live in his city despite his claimed desire to make the city more culturally diverse by his pronounced aversion to this event. Here's his schudule for Saturday:

Mayor Greg Ballard’s Public Schedule for June 11


8 a.m. – Mayor Ballard will be joined by Indianapolis Soap Box Derby youth participants for the official opening and ribbon-cutting of the City’s newly resurfaced Wilbur Shaw Soap Box Derby Hill and participate in the Mayor’s Cup Race at Riverside Regional Park.

Wilbur Shaw Soap Box Derby Hill, 3001 Cold Spring Road, Indianapolis

9:30 a.m. – Mayor Ballard will address attendees at the 2011 Summer Meeting of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Central Indiana Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association.

JW Marriott Indianapolis, 10 S. West St., Indianapolis

10:30 a.m. – Mayor Ballard will attend the 2011 Indiana Tour de Cure fundraiser supporting the mission of the American Diabetes Association: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis

12:30 p.m. – Mayor Ballard will give remarks at the annual graduation barbecue for Outreach, Inc., a ministry for homeless youth, and celebrate the achievements of youth who have graduated high school or completed their G.E.D.

Broad Ripple Park, shelter No. 1, 1550 Broad Ripple Ave., Indianapolis

1:30 p.m. – Mayor Ballard will give remarks at Robin Run Village, a continuing care retirement community, acknowledging the efforts of youth from around Indiana participating in the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership conference at Butler University. As part of their service project, the teenagers are teaming up with the nonprofit GlamourGals to provide companionships and complimentary beauty makeovers to women living in senior homes.

Robin Run Village, 5354 W. 62nd St., Indianapolis


Indy4u2c said...

I have to agree with the Indiana Family Institute on this one. I've been downtown during previous "Pride Parades" and what I saw was not appropriate for the family! I would personally call this an "R" rated event.

Taxpayer dollars going to have our men and women in uniform through the police and fire department march in that kind of a parade is totally inappropriate. If they provide security, that is a different matter, but to march in it is wrong.

Thank you Frank Straub for imposing your New York Liberalism on our city!

Septly said...

Indy4u2c, I have been downtown during the Pride event, too, though not recently. However, I have never witnessed anything "inappropriate," or something family unfriendly. In fact, I have witnessed many individuals in attendance with their children, parents, grandparents, etc..

Now, perhaps, you would not personally choose to attend with your family, but that is your opinion, and not necessarily reflective of how the general community feels.

Also, to the extent IMPD officers wish to voluntarily participate in the parade, there is absolutely no issue. These are officers who serve are city proudly every day, and they have as much right to participate in a community event, as anyone else. So, long as the parade does not involve illegal activities or advocate for harm or discrimination against others, I see no problem with the IMPD or any other city department participating.

As for so-called "New York City liberalism," if by that you mean acceptance of people with different backgrounds and maintaining a general welcoming community, it goes under the name of "Hoosier Hospitality" in Indiana, and it most certainly is a traditional value of the state and the City of Indianapolis.

Morning Constitutional said...

Micah Clark of the American Family Association also issued a long letter decrying the event, including three pictures that he disingenously called "typical" of the floats. He followed up by saying:

"Many people caught up in homosexuality have never worn a leather dog collar or led someone around with a whip. They are not drag queens or exhibitionists. For this reason, they avoid Indy Pride and all of its over-the-top displays."

Anyone going downtown Saturday and sampling the "typical" attendee would see how far from reality Micah and the AFA's view is. What's really troublesome to him and his colleagues is the realization that every year the event is more and more mainstream.


Nicely said Septly!

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Septly, I don't think the majority of the people would mind if officers were voluntarily in a parade WHILE NOT ON DUTY, BEING PAID WITH TAXPAYER DOLLARS.
Does that mean that if an on-duty officer wants to go fishing to celebrate National Fishing Week, or go swimming to celebrate National Aquatics Day, while ON DUTY, it is OK with you?

mphill109 said...

Can someone please give us (IMPD) a win-win matter what we do (participate or dont participate), we're always pissing people off...I'll say it once again, whoever coined "damned if you do, damned if you dont" was a cop!!!!

Morning Constitutional said...

Does anyone know if IPD officers have been part of other parades, such as for St. Patrick's Day, and if so, what their pay status has been?

Concerned Taxpayer said...

This has to be more work by HERR DOK-TOR Straub, the New York Liberal, who forces people to address him as DOCTOR because he has a PhD in liberalism.

Advance Indiana said...

I've been a critic of Frank Straub, but this has nothing to do with Frank Straub. There are many gay and lesbian police officers that are a part of IMPD whether people want to accept that fact or not. IMPD plays an active part in many events held in this town annually. They are typically compensated for that work, often with overtime pay. From what I understand, the police presence for this event in the past has been provided by police officers who volunteered their time and services. That has not been the case for other special events.

Morning Constitutional said...

So if that's the case, then making a decision on preferring one private group over another without a rational basis would seem questionable, if perhaps strictly speaking unlawful.

Of course the basic premise of the Indiana Family Institute and its companions is that people who are unrepentently gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender are inherently second-class cizens unworthy of being afforded any accomodation.

Who elected Micah, Eric, and Curt to be guardians of the public morality in the first place?

Morning Constitutional said...

Really unfortunate concerning Mayor Ballard, who privately seems not to harbor a smidgen of bias against the LGBT community, and who at least questioned the need for the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment"

But you're so, so very right, Gary. Whenever the "unholy trinity" of so-called "values" organizations snap their fingers, even more progressive members of the GOP don't want to be seen anywhere near a part of their constituency.

It's not only GOP folks who do that; there are many Democrats who become very nervous nellies about getting too close.

At least the younger generation is beginning to catch on.

Morning Constitutional said...

I would assume AI has now see IFI director of operations Ryan McCann's further homophobic rants about the whoole thing. (Don't know how to link in the comment but suspect AI does.) If not so really sad, it would make good comedy, especially about the police "recruting booth" at the event.

Advance Indiana said...

Me thinks Ryan doth protest too much.