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'Straight pride' parade planned in Modesto

Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

A group has applied for a permit to hold a "straight pride" parade in Modesto, Calif., next month.

The city is in the final stages of reviewing the application for the event, which is slated for Aug. 24 at Graceada Park, said Thomas Reeves, community and media relations officer for Modesto. A decision is expected next week.

City Hall has been flooded with calls and emails from residents, many of them upset that the event may be permitted to take place, he said.

"Permits to host any event are granted based on operational feasibility, not based on values and certainly not based on any endorsement of beliefs," Reeves said. "So although the city does not share in the beliefs of some groups that choose to hold their events here, we may not be able to deny a permit based on an organization's values."

A similar rationale was given by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh when the city approved a public event application for a "straight pride" parade there last month. The two events do not appear to be affiliated.

Fliers advertising the Modesto parade began circulating about a week ago, both in downtown Modesto and via social media, drawing the attention of the Modesto Progressive Democrats' Facebook page.

 

"We're promoting many different things: heterosexuality, masculinity, femininity, babies, born and especially unborn, the nuclear family of men, women and children -- everything that made our country great," said organizer Don Grundmann, a San Leandro-based chiropractor and herbalist with at least five unsuccessful U.S. Senate runs under his belt.

Formerly a leading figure in the American Independent Party, Grundmann is chairman of the Constitution Party of California, which is not recognized as a ballot-qualified party by the state.

In addition to advocating for Christianity and a return to what he calls "old-fashioned American values," his platform includes abolishing the IRS, the Federal Reserve System and the U.S. Department of Education; eliminating the federal income tax; and banning the vaccination of children.

Grundmann also describes himself as director of the National Straight Pride Coalition, which is backing the event. The group is currently active only in California, but he said he hopes to inspire chapters and similar events in every state.

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