Aurora Pride parade permit revoked, organizers say

  • Aurora became the first Illinois city outside of Chicago to host a gay pride parade in 2018.

    Aurora became the first Illinois city outside of Chicago to host a gay pride parade in 2018. Courtesy of Indivisible Aurora

 
 
Updated 6/8/2022 2:23 PM

Aurora has revoked the permit for the Aurora Pride parade scheduled for Sunday, city and parade officials announced Wednesday.

But Aurora Pride, the group that organizes the private parade, are appealing the decision. A hearing will be conducted at 9 a.m. Thursday, according to city spokesman Clayton Muhammad.

 

Police officials announced Tuesday that not enough Aurora police officers had signed up for overtime or extra-duty shifts to provide security. They added parade organizers had not found enough other officers or security workers from other towns and agencies.

"We have not been able to close the gap, despite the tireless efforts of our safety team lead and many supporters offering their assistance. As a result, our permit is now revoked," Aurora Pride posted on its website Wednesday.

"Our position has been misrepresented, and we're making every effort to keep the parade as scheduled. Thank you for your steadfast support, and please hang tight."

The parade was meant to honor and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. June is Pride Month, based on the Stonewall Inn protests of June 1969 in New York City, an event seen as a seminal moment in the history of the gay-rights movement.

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Controversy over the parade began on May 25 when Mayor Richard Irvin criticized the parade for asking that any police officers who intended to march in the parade do so without wearing their standard uniform. They also said officers should not drive an official police vehicle or carry their service weapons.

Irvin said excluding such officers was offensive and inexcusable.

Aurora Pride suggested that officers could identify themselves as police officers in other ways, such as carrying signs or banners, wearing special T-shirts, or wearing a "soft uniform" such as official police polo shirts. The organization maintains it has not banned officers from participating.

The American Civil Liberties Union's Illinois chapter warned Irvin not to take any retaliatory action against the parade over the matter, including revoking its permit or not providing police as security.

According to police department spokesman Paris Lewbel, police officers can't be ordered to work overtime or extra-duty shifts at private parades. He said the parade needed another 20 officers. He refused to say how many officers were required in total, citing security reasons. Muhammad said Aurora police had provided 70% of the officers required.

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