Petitioners want Halloween parade open to LGBT youth


Petitioners from across the country are calling on the Anoka Halloween Festival Committee to overturn its rejection of an LGBT youth group that wanted to join in an annual parade.

Anoka, Minn., bills itself as the Halloween Capital of the World.

Earlier this fall, the Halloween committee rejected an application to join the Halloween parade from Justin’s Gift, an LGBT youth group named for a bullied gay teen who committed suicide. A representative for the committee had told the youth group that there was no room for its members in the Oct. 27 event but city and law enforcement officials said they imposed no size limits on the parade.

The festival committee has since been under pressure to overturn her decision. 

After learning of the controversy, Anoka resident Rebecca Krone launched a petition on urging the committee to change its position.

“The parade committee had a great opportunity to send a welcoming message by letting Justin’s Gift walk in the parade,” said Krone. “I have three kids who are growing up right here in Anoka and I want them — and all of their friends and peers — to feel safe and welcomed in their own community. Our kids should never be afraid to be who they are. Our community needs to heal and this would have been a great start.”

The Anoka-Hennepin School District has been under scrutiny by parents groups, education associations, civil rights leaders and the U.S. Justice and Education departments for an anti-gay policy and for a series of suicides related to anti-gay bulling.

Krone said just this month, Bryan Lindquist, member of the Parents Action League, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as a hate group, was appointed to the district’s anti-bullying task force.

Anoka is in the district represented by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, one of the most ardent anti-gay members of Congress.

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