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Rexburg Pride brings protests, supporters

REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI) - The Rexburg Pride event at Porter Park took place amidst controversy and protests.

Drag queen performances in the park, with children in attendance, is at the center of the controversy.

"They had advertised that they are going to do drag queen shows, so we're here to stand as protectors between performers and kids, should that happen," said Ron Nate, an organizer with Mass Resistance, a self-described "leading pro-family activist organization."

Saturday's event saw about 70 protestors with different groups, some with Mass Resistance and some with local churches. People from both sides of the issue could be seen talking about their differences.

Pride event organizers estimated attendance at over a thousand people.

"I've seen a few protests, but for the most part, they've kept their distance. There's been a few that have come around, but nothing. Nothing intimidating or scary," said Shauna Decker, a Pride supporter.

A Rexburg Pride event spokesperson said the committee had taken the community's concerns into consideration, and made some program changes.

"And so we listen to that aspect and so we are still going to have drag performers be a part of our celebration. But we just because of the community concern, we took them out of our program and instead we rescheduled until an after party that we're having at the Romance Theater at 8 p.m.," said Robert Little.

Mass Resistance's Ron Nate responded, "We're also hearing a rumor that they've moved the drag Queen event to the Romance Theater tonight and made it for 18 and over, which is an admission that drag queen events are not for kids, and we feel like that's a victory."

Mass Resistance representatives along with concerned Rexburg citizens were at a June 7 city council meeting voicing their concerns about the Pride event. Many attendees asked for an ordinance to prohibit drag queen shows in public. The city council said such an ordinance would take time.

Rexburg Mayor Jerry Merrill said he has personally met with Rexburg Pride event organizers and indicated he expected high standards at the event.

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Stephanie Lucas


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