For a number of years, various faiths, including several Christian denominations, have marched in Gay Pride parades around the world to show their support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
But shortly before Idaho’s Pride Parade, an evangelical Christian said that he had entered a float for an entirely different purpose: to show that homosexuals can change their sexuality.
Tom Munds, a member of Canyon Springs Christian Church in Middleton, Idaho, told the Idaho Statesman on June 17 that he was joining the parade to show revelers that “We’re all sinners and Jesus loves us all.”
“I just want to share that message,” he said.
Munds said that parade organizers permitted him to enter without any question. He planned to hang a banner featuring the URL of an ex-gay Web site from his float, out of which he also hoped to distribute water bottles.
Brian Weatherhead, the president of Boise Pride, however, told Munds that one of the parade’s sponsors was already in charge of distributing water bottles. When asked why Boise Pride let Munds into the parade, Weatherhead said that the organization did not restrict anyone from participating, so long as they behaved non-violently.
“He isn’t advocating hate speech, and as long as he is peaceful and nondisruptive, he’s welcome,” said Weatherhead.
Sen. Nicole LeFavour, the state’s only openly lesbian legislator, told the paper that while Munds had the right to express his opinion, she was disappointed to hear that he had joined the parade.
“I’m sorry that this group feels that we can’t have one place and one day that we could be ourselves and feel safe,” she said.
Munds said his church was the first with an “oppositional” view of homosexuality to march in the parade, which has been going on in Boise for the past decade.
The parade and other Pride festivities were held Saturday June 21 in downtown Boise without incident.