Organizer Expects Gay Day Permit for Rhea County
Associated Press, April 14,
DAYTON, Tenn.—A permit is pending
for a gay pride event next month in the town best known as the site of the
1925 Scopes “monkey” trial and in the news recently for a county effort to
The event, originally scheduled to be held on the Rhea
County Courthouse lawn with a parade through town, is expected to be moved to
city-owned Point Park. The parade has been canceled because of space and
security concerns. “Everyone is welcome to come,” said Kristie Bacon, 26,
organizer of the event. “It’s just a gathering to show Rhea County that
we’re not bad people.”
In March, the Rhea County Commission voted to begin
researching how to make homosexuality a “crime against nature” in the
county. The action received national attention, and the commission rescinded
the vote two days later.
Rhea County, about 30 miles north of Chattanooga,
annually commemorates the 1925 trial at which John Scopes was convicted of
teaching evolution in the public high school. The verdict was reversed on a
technicality, and the trial became the subject of the play and movie Inherit
Bacon said she expected to have no trouble getting a
permit for the gay pride event. “They’ve been pretty cool about the whole
thing,” she said.
Dayton City Manager Frank Welch didn’t return repeated
calls seeking comment yesterday.
Rhea County Gay Day is expected to include contests,
music, comedians, speakers, various booths and a volleyball tournament. Bacon
said she hoped about 2,500 people would attend.
She said Gary Goodin, a representative of GLBT, a gay,
lesbian, bisexual, transgender organization, is scheduled to attend the event.
Bacon, a production line worker at a factory for heaters
and air conditioners, said some people have been hostile since she announced
the event. “A couple of people threw Coke bottles at my car,” she said.
“There’s been a little damage, but nothing big. Everyone has their
opinions, and if that’s the way they choose to live, well, that’s the way
they choose to live.”
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