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Straight Pride Event Has a Rough Reception

Modesto rejects plans, but may allow rally in new spot
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2019 3:12 PM CDT
Shaun Gepley, left, and Katy Forney attend a California rally Wednesday to show their opposition to a straight pride rally planned for Graceada Park in Modesto.   (Andy Alfaro/The Modesto Bee via AP)
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(Newser) – After a hearing that erupted in loud boos—and laughter—a California city has rejected plans by a group to hold a public event celebrating heterosexuality. The National Straight Pride Coalition had applied for a permit to use a Modesto park on Aug. 24, CBS reports. The group also advocates for Christianity and white contributions to Western civilization, the AP reports. The city rejected the permit request, primarily because the coalition lacks liability insurance, but also because the parks department objected to such a use for the park. The city will allow a rally in a plaza downtown, however, if the group can show proof of insurance by Tuesday. Should confrontations break out, the city said, the plaza would be easier to police than the park.

Don Grundmann, the group's organizer, got an earful at a city council meeting. He was booed throughout as he made his presentation, but the volume was turned up when he made a slip. "We're a peaceful group, we wanted to have a meeting, celebration of life. We're attacked as racists," Grundmann said, per CBS. "We're a totally peaceful racist group!" Laughter then drowned him out. The opposition to the event includes E&J Gallo Wineries, one of the city's largest employers, but Grundmann hasn't given up. "We will have an event, however it manifests itself, in Modesto on the 24th," he told the Bee. (Read more Modesto, California stories.)

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