After initially being turned down by the city, Boston's first ever "Straight Pride" parade has been granted an official date: August 31.
The group behind the event, "Super Happy Fun America," announced the development in a press conference in front of City Hall Wednesday, where they said the city informed them that they will be receiving their license to hold the parade at the end of August.
The city initially rejected the "Straight Pride" proposal but, after the group filed a discrimination complaint, has conceded that it cannot deny a group on account of its values or beliefs, as explained by Mayor Marty Walsh earlier this month. "Permits to host a public event are granted based on operational feasibility, not based on values or endorsements of beliefs," he said. "The City of Boston cannot deny a permit based on an organization’s values."
CBS Boston notes that "Super Happy Fun America" initially requested that City Hall fly a "Straight Pride" flag, as it does the Gay Pride flag, but the request "was denied as city officials said they have sole discretion on what flags fly outside City Hall."
The group's initial attempt to get permission to run its parade, which will follow the path of the annual Pride Parade, was shut down, but things changed when they made a legal appeal. "We filed a discrimination complaint and it appears the City of Boston understands they would lose in litigation," the group's vice president, Mark Sahady, said in a Facebook post. "The city is now working with us on the parade."
As The Daily Wire has reported, the organizers of the "Straight Pride" Parade present it as an alternative to the annual Gay Pride Parade, describing the event as an opportunity to "celebrate heterosexuality."
"We want people to be aware that there is not only one side of things," the group's president John Hugo said in a statement reported by CBS. "There’s a lot of people that are uncomfortable with a lot of things that are going on in our country and they’re afraid to speak up." Sahady framed the event in patriotic terms. "This is our chance to have a patriotic parade in Boston as we celebrate straight pride," he wrote in an online post.
The event has stirred strong responses both for and against online. Among those who have weighed in is progressive actor Chris Evans, who took to Twitter to brand the organizers "homophobic." "Just a thought, instead of 'Straight Pride' parade, how about this: The 'desperately trying to bury our own gay thoughts by being homophobic because no one taught us how to access our emotions as children' parade?" he tweeted.
Right-leaning FOX Nation host Tomi Lahren, however, defended the event and slammed Boston's initial denial as more evidence that it's "open season" on straight white males. "You can be proud of about anything these days, so long as it's not straight white male or, God forbid, conservative," she said.
Brad Pitt has also been caught up in the debate after the organizers of the event adopted him as their "mascot." TMZ reported that Pitt told them that "his team has reached out to the Straight Pride Parade organizers, demanding they stop using his name and likeness for their event" and threatened "further action" if they didn't. His name and likeness has since been scrubbed from the event's promotions.