The right to marry crowd was not so tolerant of the right to carry at a gay pride rally in Olympia, Washing this past weekend. According to the Libertarian Party of Washington (LPWA) they were turned away for their support of the second amendment from the Capital City Pride Festival.
The LPWA has attended and set up a booth at the event in previous years, but this year at the 25th anniversary of the gay pride event when a LPWA member called the event organizer to find out if open carry, which is legal in the state of Washington, was allowed at the event, the political party found themselves no longer welcomed. James Holcomb who is a member of the political group, made the call to the event organizer to find out if carrying a gun was allowed at the event because he knew some members carry on a regular basis. It was not allowed, and members who planned to attend were told not bring firearms, end of story, or so he thought.
According to Holcomb he received a voice mail from Anna Schlecht the chairwoman of Capital City Pride, in which she informed them that their booth and participation in the gay pride event was banned. She accused the group of having a political agenda and of playing games; she went on to say that she was frustrated and that they should not bother calling her back.
Unknown to the LPWA another open carry activist group had planned to attend the gay pride event, and according to Holcomb, though his group had no connection with the other group, Schlecht continued to confuse the two groups, even after being told repeatedly that they were not connected. Holcomb said the LPWA’s message for the event had nothing to do with the second amendment; it was instead about the Libertarian party’s support for equal rights for all.
Allegedly no members of LPWA received any other message beside the one voice mail left for Holcomb the day before the gay pride event from organizers. Those who registered for the event were not told that they were banned. Edwin Pole the LPWA booth organizer, was informed for the first time that the group was no longer welcome when he showed up to the event on Saturday at eight in the morning. Pole said the group was complying with the no guns allowed policy, and he has accused Schlecht of overreacting. Neither he nor Holcomb who also came on Saturday were armed. They had informed all members to come unarmed and had even decided against championing second amendments rights at the event.
Saturday morning when Pole showed up to the event Schlecht allegedly tried to shove a check for $100 into his belongings. The check was reimbursement for the cost of the booth at the event, money that Pole paid out of his own pocket. He refused the check saying that it was not enough to cover the cost of the additional funds, resources, and time that the LPWA spent for the gay pride event. Along with the check the LPWA members were given a handwritten letter that seems to show how little tolerance the gay pride rally crowd has for the right to carry, even as they demand the right to marry for same-sex couples. The letter stated that the group was being refunded the booth registration fee, and that as permit holder for the pride festival organizers have final say over who can and can not have a booth at the event. The letter also went on to say that the political party is free to exercise their first amendment rights at the fairgrounds. They are also free to exercise the second amendment rights. The ending of the letter though, Holcomb believes, relays the organizers’ feelings on the issue.
And be advised that your supreme insensitivity to the recent church shooting in Charleston will be duly noted by festival participants.” the note from Schlecht said.
Holcomb said he spent most of Saturday outside of the event protesting, but he was able to take part as an individual in the parade on Sunday. Holcomb blames the extreme left, who he claims are mostly in charge of these type of events. According to him they are not really supportive of all rights, that though they say they are for all civil rights and for everybody’s right to marry, when it comes to rights they may disagree with, they are only about their rights. He says being a gay Libertarian in Washington is difficult, that many people believe if you are gay you have to be a democrat, or if you are fiscally conservative and support the second amendment you must be an extreme right-wing conservative. It’s disappointing to him that as part of a community that has struggled and fought so hard for basic rights, that those who do support the second amendment are often dismissed. The people who fought so hard for the LGBT community did not fight so everybody could be the same. Holcomb feels it is awful that organizers of a gay pride event could exclude the minority of a minority.
A video shows a group of people not affiliated with the LPWA trying to get into the gay pride festival with their guns. Event organizers can be seen blockading the gun right activist who are dressed in rainbow apparel. When they are asked why they are there, the activist respond that they are there to support gay rights. When one activist says that he is bisexual an organizer ask where his boyfriend is. Gay pride rallies have for years been seen as an all-inclusive environment, yet it appears when it comes to the right to carry some of the crowd that is fighting for the right to marry, are not so tolerant.
By Jessica Hamel
The Truth About Guns.com: Gay Open Carry Group Kicked Out of Gay Pride Rally Due to “Psychological Harm”
Libertarian Party: LPWA Banned from Capital City Pride
The Blaze: ‘Banned From Pride For Being a Gay Libertarian’: Right to Marry Clashes With Right to Carry at Gay Pride Event
Photo Courtesy of Dain Sandoval’s Flickr Page-Creative commons License
Photo Courtesy of Jason Taellious’s Flickr Page-Creative Commons License