Thursday, July 3, 2003

Kids’ Parade’s fate
discussed by all sides

Participants and organizers of this Saturday's Kids' Parade met yesterday in a city conference room to discuss the details of an event that may not take place.

The Hawaii Christian Coalition, which is organizing the parade with city help, has said it will cancel the parade if a federal judge rules today that three gay rights groups must be allowed to march in it.

Members of gay rights groups denied permission to march in the parade also attended yesterday's weekly planning meeting of organizers and participants at Honolulu Hale.

William Woods, of the Gay and Lesbian Education and Advocacy Foundation, asked city Deputy Managing Director Malcolm Tom if the city was considering his organization's offer to sponsor the parade if the Hawaii Christian Coalition pulls out.

"It's all hypothetical," Tom responded. "When it (the judge's ruling) happens, we'll decide then."

After the meeting, Woods said if the city continues to support the parade and if the other participants show up, the event will be a better and more inclusive celebration.

But it was unclear how many of those signed up to march in the parade would show up if the GLEA Foundation was the sponsor.

"It's very confusing over here," said Henry Chu, chairman of the Lung Kong Physical Culture Club, which is scheduled to provide lion dancers for the parade. "I don't side with anybody. I just want to do the right thing for the community."

Mary Esther Correa, of Los Amigos Ballet Folklorico, said she will not bring her students, ages 5 to 17, to the parade if the gay rights groups win in court.

"I'm not against gays and I'm not against any religion, but I don't want to have my students exposed to something that I don't feel is right," she said.

Also yesterday, the city filed an additional argument in federal court to support their position that the gay rights groups can be denied permission to march because the city is not a sponsor of the event.

In court papers, Mayor Jeremy Harris said, "I have directed that the city not provide any support or services for the Kids' Parade that was not provided for the (Gay) Pride Parade" last Saturday.

Harris also said the idea for the parade originated with the Hawaii Christian Coalition.

But American Civil Liberties Union attorney Brent White said the files of city administrator Alvin Au, a co-chairman of the parade, show the city began planning the parade back in April, and at that time the Hawaii Christian Coalition was not listed as a sponsor.

"This (parade) is the city's concept," White said.

Whether the city is a sponsor of the parade is a key legal point because the city cannot discriminate against the gay rights groups.

The ACLU filed the suit against the city on behalf of the three gay advocacy groups that are asking to be allowed to march in the parade.


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