In case you haven't heard, the organizers of Seattle's gay pride parade have announced that any elected official, politician, or political organization must pay $1,200 to march in the parade this year, while businesses need only shell out $700. That is to say, Seattle Out and Proud (SOaP) thinks that the people and groups in the trenches of passing and upholding marriage equality should pay $500 more than some random, for-profit business using the parade as a billboard.
What the hell, pride?
Those elected officials, with the help of political organizations, passed same-sex marriage this year. And now we're going to be defending it on the ballot. This year is about marriage—but is pride about marriage?
State senator Ed Murray, the Seattle lawmaker who orchestrated the six-year legislative strategy to pass the most important gay-rights bill in state history, wasn't asked to be the parade's grand marshal. Nor were Representative Jamie Pedersen and Representative Laurie Jinkins, two of the movement's other heroes this year. Instead, they all have to pay to enter a parade that they should be leading. Adding insult to idiocy, they have to pay $500 more than some goddamn real-estate agent, bar, or burger joint.
Look, I know that pride organizers need to charge most folks who want to march. After all, we chastise SOaP when they run a major debt. And I agree that it's obnoxious when a flotilla of campaign shills with signs come trawling for votes, particularly when their grinning, waving candidate has performed only the most superficial support for gay rights. If some politician wants to march for his or her election campaign, charge them the same amount as a business. And if someone has done something great for gay rights, let 'em march for free and make them march in a big group together.
People like Murray, Pedersen, Jinkins should be leading the charge for marriage right down Fourth Avenue. Instead, pride's theme this year isn't even about marriage. Pride's asinine theme is "The Many Faces of Pride" and SOaP explains that theme—inscrutably—as "your collective individualism on parade even as you stand in place." What the fuck does that even mean?
SOaP didn't respond to an email and phone call seeking comment. And now they probably never will. But I hope they pull their heads out of their asses so they can use the LGBT movement's biggest political event to uphold and defend the most important LGBT issue in the state. You know, instead of using pride as an advertising medium for every business clamoring for the gay dollar.