Days of ’47 Parade 2014 Application Denied

From the MBB Steering Committee to the MBB Facebook group and MBB Stake Holders
May 1, 2014

Now that the MBB Facebook group is nearly five thousand participants strong, we are looking forward to marching in the Utah Pride Parade in June. Over the last two years, MBB has been urged by many individuals and organizations to also march in the Days of ’47 parade also held in Salt Lake City. Since we were still a relatively new and growing group, the MBB steering committee decided not to apply to the Days of 47 parade in 2012 and 2013. However, earlier this year, the steering committee chose to apply after determining that participation in the parade was consistent with our mission to help make LGBTQI/SSA individuals feel loved and welcome in our communities.  As a means of reporting back to the Facebook group and other parties who urged us to apply, the MBB steering committee has decided to share this update with the Facebook group.

MBB’s proposed entry titled “Mormons Building Bridges Celebrates Utah’s LGBT/SSA Pioneers” was to include a car with eight leaders from areas of public service, business, the arts, and the faith community, who also happen to be LGBT. The entry would have aligned with current LDS church messaging of love and acceptance around LGBT/SSA issues. MBB has been notified by parade co-chair Jodene Smith that, “due to the subject matter and under [the parade's] general standards, [the parade's co-chairs] will not be able to permit your application at this time”.

Although the MBB steering committee is disappointed in this decision, we hope that this can provide an opportunity to engage in a constructive and open dialogue with parade organizers about the goals and mission of the event, in the hopes of eventually being granted entry in the parade. While we understand that historically LGBT organizations have been turned down by the Days of ’47 parade, we had hoped that our Latter-day Saint identity and the way in which we consistently support our church’s principles of love and inclusion, as well as our desire to adhere to parade standards, would have led parade organizers to welcome Mormons Building Bridges into this beloved Utah tradition. We look forward to an ongoing relationship with Days of ’47 and hope to continue further dialogue about both participation in the parade and the value of LGBT pioneers to the state of Utah.

According to the event website, “The Days of ’47, remembers Utah’s early and current pioneers with a variety of events [including] an all-day extravaganza with a Sunrise Service and Parade in downtown Salt Lake City”. It is one of the oldest parades in the United States and the largest in the state of Utah. This years’ theme is “Pioneers-Pushing Toward Our Future”.

The application’s general standards # 1 states, “Entry applications will be rejected if the Parade Committee, in its sole discretion and judgment, determines an entry to be political, controversial, unlawful or otherwise inconsistent with the standards, theme or purpose of the Parade. Examples of unacceptable entries include, but are not limited to, the following: advocacy by political parties or candidates for public office, advocacy for legislative or other public policy initiatives, subject matters relating to sexuality, including polygamy and abortion, controversial religious matters and gun rights.”