Delta Pride Header

Header of the submitted proclamation to council for "Delta Pride and LGBTQIA2S+ History Month."

For most of the first hour of Tuesday’s Delta City Council meeting, the discussion revolved around a proclamation for “Delta Pride and LGBTQIA2S+ History Month.”

During constituent time, 14 members of the community spoke on the topic within their three-minute time constraints. Eight constituents spoke against the proclamation. Five spoke in favor of it.

One was neutral, questioning what the council’s role should be in making community proclamations at all, particularly ones that deal with two protected subjects — LGBTQ and Christianity.

At the time of the proclamation itself, Mayor Nathan Clay prefaced the proclamation by stating that there seemed to be a misunderstanding, as proclamations are not voted upon by council. They are only read upon request. Also, they are not written by the council, but submitted by people or groups.

“These are not points of policy,” Clay said. “They are not an ordinance. They are simply stating the intent of the city as is stated on our values that we include all folks that are in this town, regardless of whom thinks they should be included or not.”

He read the proclamation, which states as follows:

“WHEREAS, the Council of the City Of Delta, Colorado recognizes and proclaims the month of October LGBTQIA2S+ History Month 2021 and is committed to supporting visibility, dignity, and equality for LGBTQIA2S+ people in our diverse community: and

“WHEREAS, Delta Pride joins the City of Delta and the citizens to observe Pride History Month to honor the history of the LGBTQIA2S+ liberation movement and to support the rights of all citizens to experience equality and freedom from discrimination; and

“WHEREAS, all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. LGBTQIA2S+ individuals have had an immeasurable impact on the cultural, civic, and economic successes of our country, thus, acknowledging the need for education and awareness; and

“WHEREAS, this nation was founded on the principle that every individual has infinite dignity and worth, and Delta Pride calls upon the people of this municipality to embrace this principle and work to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists; and

“WHEREAS, celebrating LGBTQIA2S+ Pride History Month influences awareness and provides support and advocacy for Delta County’s LGBTQIA2S+ community, and is an opportunity to take action and engage in dialogue to strengthen alliances, build acceptance and advance equal rights.

“NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Delta herby proclaims the month of October 2021 as LGBTQIA2S+ Pride History Month in support of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the rainbow flag will be raised on this day, October 19th recognizing all LGBTQIA2S+ residents whose influential and lasting contributions to our neighborhoods make Delta, Colorado a vibrant community in which to live, work and visit.”

Before moving on from the proclamation, however, Councilman Kevin Carlson called a point of order to take issue with the proclamation. He pointed out that the last line, beginning with “Be it further resolved” was not read by Clay, which Clay said was only a mistake on his part.

Carlson said his issue was not at all with the LGBTQ community but with the forcefulness and irrelevance of the proclamation to any sort of supposed “history month.”

“I have a problem with the way some of this is worded compared to our other proclamations and I feel that a little bit like the reading went … a little bit out of place,” Carlson said. “I don’t deny that this is a good thing in one aspect but I also know that June is the LGBTQ — designated nationally — June is the month for them as far as that goes.”

Much of the proclamation, instead of referencing history of the LGBTQ community, is “stating and pointing and saying other than expressing the history of it,” according to Carlson. In comparison with the Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation from last month, which he observed is positive and uses examples to draw people into the importance of it, Carlson indicated that the proclamation for LGBTQIA2S+ History Month was comparatively lacking in anything actually historical.

Earlier complaints of the proclamation from members of the community during citizen comments had similar arguments to those of Carlson’s, while others cited the proclamation of a further, public degradation of values, a needless publicizing of something that should be private business, a morally controversial topic that the council shouldn’t touch and a slippery slope to other proclamations. One constituent rhetorically asked whether the council would in the future read a proclamation for pedophilia if one was submitted to it.

On the pro-proclamation side of the constituent arguments, members of the surrounding community — whether or not they associated themselves with the LGBTQ community — stated that they felt the proclamation was important for promoting community inclusivity, giving the LGBTQ community hope that the stigma could fade. Others didn’t care about the proclamation but spoke against the hate against the LGBTQ community they felt was present.

Regardless of the complaints of the proclamation itself, Clay reminded all in the room that the council does not author the proclamations at all. It receives them from the community and reads them before the council. This statement initiated the second part of the discussion, which regarded a lack of vetting on proclamations which come into the council.

“We get these from the group and they ask us to read it,” Clay said.

“I think that how they’re feeling, this should be their proclamation,” Councilman Ryan Crick said in argument against Carlson’s oppositions. He indicated that the people who’d written the proclamation were likely angry about their treatment.

Crick also did acknowledge that the proclamation was poorly written, but as he indicated, and as Clay said, they can’t exactly send the proclamation back to the group because they find it disagreeable in points when they didn’t send back any previous proclamations. It would be construed as a dangerous bias for a hot subject.

“We have to make sure we’re not holding special favor,” Clay said. “The way I see it, if we don’t make a proclamation like this and say, ‘We’re not doing that because you didn’t write it correctly,’ and keep sending it back, that’s going against the whole spirit of the Constitution of the United States and this very body. Yeah, maybe it could be written better, Kevin, I don’t disagree.”

The line of which proclamations would and wouldn’t be acknowledged by council was ultimately unknown. As Clay put it, if a proclamation was submitted to them for “Kill Your Dog Month,” they probably would not read it.

Otherwise, proclamations hold no governmental power.

Councilman Mark Broome interjected to ask, if proclamations can be limitlessly passed otherwise with no real vetting, why didn’t his proclamations to honor the 13 fallen soldiers ever happen? Clay told Broome to write it, and he, Clay, would read it.

After further discussion of the meaning, vetting and usefulness of proclamations, Crick said of the matter, “They could write a proclamation that has to do with the moon. Nothing to do with anything. And we could read it. And it’s a proclamation. And it’s over. I don’t understand why this is such a hot button issue — I mean, I know why it is, but why we’re going to stop the world right here in Delta because some people want to be recognized.”

Broome said that, if it’s actually that easy to make a proclamation, with the United States in mind, some proclamations would be coming to the council from his direction. He mentioned the protestant reformation, for one, as well as Pastor Appreciation Month and several others.

“If you would like to bog down our business with that, Mark, all the power to you, brother,” Crick said after Broome asked how many proclamations can be done in a month (to which the answer was that there is no limit).

An hour into the meeting, the council did move on from the proclamation, though concerns did briefly rise back up in council member comments at the end of the meeting, mainly as Carlson said he’d like to review a more specific process for proclamations.

Lucas Vader is a staff writer for the Delta County Independent. Follow him on Twitter, @lucasrvader.

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