Update: Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg)’s chief legislative aide has confirmed that the resolution recognizing LGBT Pride Month will no longer be introduced at tonight’s meeting. Instead, Umstattd will return with the resolution at the July 5 meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
“After clarification over Rules of Order, a suspension of the rules would be needed tonight to have this added to the agenda, which according to the Rules should really only be done for items that need immediate action,” wrote Umstattd’s chief legislative aide, Valerie Suzdak. “She is comfortable waiting until the 5th, to not over complicate anything and give the public more time for review.”
The Loudoun County Republican Committee has come out strongly against a proposal for the Board of Supervisors to adopt a resolution recognizing June as LGBT Pride month in the wake of the Orlando killings.
“Loudoun residents are tired of Democrats on the Board of Supervisors using their positions to play politics rather than focusing on their responsibilities to manage the county,” wrote Will Estrada, chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, in a statement.
Umstattd said she was approached by more than 30 Loudoun residents asking for the resolution in the aftermath of a mass shooting in Orlando on June 12, where 49 people were shot to death and many more injured in a gay nightclub. She likened the resolution to similar resolutions recognizing cancer survivors, Black History Month, and equal rights for women.
“These are all things that the board takes up and generally votes through without much discussion,” Umstattd said. “I view this request in the normal course of business, but also much more poignant than some of the other ceremonial requests we get because of what happened in Orlando, where a community appears to have been targeted because of the way God made them.”
“Kristen Umstattd made sure that this resolution was not placed on the board’s agenda for the meeting tomorrow evening, making it appear that she wants to rush this through before Loudoun residents were aware of this attempt to declare June as ‘LGBT Pride Month,'” reads the LCRC press release.
Umstattd said the request only came in late last week, too late to make the agenda without an amendment during the meeting.
“That was the only thing we had time to do for this group, that is clearly in pain at the time, and I think it is entirely legitimate to respond to constituents in that way, and not let government red tape get between them and something that means a lot to them,” Umstattd said.
“Focusing on a far-left agenda is becoming a trend for Umstattd, first by making robocalls to lobby county residents for higher taxes after stating that her goal in office was to ‘keep taxes as low as possible for Loudoun residents,’ and now taking the time and resources of the County Board to pursue a polarizing social agenda,” Estrada stated.
Umstattd said she thinks “most Americans are tolerant.”
“This is, I think, the Christian, decent thing to do, and it has nothing to do with anything on the left,” Umstattd said. “In fact, if that’s the chair’s position, then this is clearly a discussion we need to have.” She likened Estrada’s objection to historic resistance to Black History Month. “We’ve grown as a society, we’ve tried to constantly become better, to cater to our better selves, not our worse selves.”
Kyle Rohen, a board member of LGBTQ rights advocacy nonprofit NOVA Pride, said he felt the letter detracts from the Republican party’s message.
“I also found it a little bit disturbing that LGBT pride is referenced as a far-left special interest group, especially considering that the Republican Party itself has groups like [now-defunct] GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans,” Rohen said, referencing an organization that advocates within the Republican Party for equal rights for LGBT people.
“I believe this issue is bipartisan enough at this point that something as innocuous as a proclamation recognizing that June is the typical month for LGBT pride isn’t an issue,” Rohen said.
Estrada also linked the resolution to a previous resolution in the Board of Supervisors recognizing Gun Violence Awareness Day, which Republicans members voted to table indefinitely without discussion.