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County commissioner refuses to sign Pride Week proclamation

 

A Nueces County commissioner expressed her opposition Wednesday to a proclamation by the Commissioners Court recognizing this year’s Pride Week celebration.

County Commissioner Carolyn Vaughn read a statement prior to a proclamation supporting The Mosaic Project of South Texas’ Fourth Annual Pride week. The Corpus Christi project recognizes and promotes diversity in the area and also advocates LGBTQ rights and equality for all citizens.

A proclamation does not require a vote of commissioners for approval.

Wednesday’s proclamation marks the first time since Pride Week festivities began in 2016 that a proclamation of any kind has been presented in Commissioners Court.

And Vaughn wasn’t happy about it, leading her to refuse to sign the proclamation.

“They have a right to (their) beliefs and they have to respect mine and my beliefs,” Vaughn told KRIS-TV after the meeting. “I can’t support the proclamation of what the judge did. It has nothing to do with them. It’s just my beliefs and I wasn’t going to support them.”

Vaughn tried to make her belief known in what she called “a kind way.”

“To just say, ‘Look guys, you have a right to your beliefs, but I do, too,'” she said. “Just because you are the LGBTQ or whatever it’s called community doesn’t mean I have to suck it up and support it.

“I’m not criticizing (them). I’m just saying I have a right to my beliefs and I don’t have to support this.

“That’s all I did and I don’t think I did anything wrong. I would do it again.”

County Judge Barbara Canales is serving as the grand marshal for the Pride Week parade that will take place on Saturday.

The Commissioners Court came out strongly in favor of Pride Week in the proclamation.

“Now, therefore be it resolved, that the Commissioners Court of Nueces County, hereby supports June 3–9, 2019, as PRIDE Week in Nueces County, Texas, and encourage all citizens of Nueces County to join me in celebrating the dignity, strength, passion, dedication, and commitment of the LGBTQIA+ community in the Coastal Bend,” the proclamation reads.

Vaughn’s comments drew the ire of LULAC Para Todos, a local civil rights organization which responded because “we believe in standing up for a community that continues to be kicked around by bigotry and hatred.”

“It’s unfortunate that Nueces County Commissioner Carolyn Vaughn felt the desperate need to impose her anti-LGBTQ beliefs preceding the presentation of the Nueces County proclamation in celebration of Pride Week.

“The presentation by County Judge Barbara Canales with the support of County Commissioner Joe A. Gonzalez is at a time when we are celebrating Pride Month in Nueces County and uniting as a community to promote diversity amongst us.”

The statement from LULAC Para Todos adds that Vaughn should avoid letting her personal biases affect her proclamations.

“Being a County-elected official, her job is to represent the community as a whole and understand that it would be beneficial for all of her constituents if she kept her personal biases to herself. Her actions at today’s meeting were highly unnecessary and we call on her to apologize to the LGBTQ community for refusing to represent everybody in her district — regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Tim Griffin

Tim Griffin

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