By Nicole Shine, Garden Grove Journal
Will lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual groups be permitted to march in next year’s Tet parade?
Only time will tell, as the Westminster City Council pushed out that decision for two more weeks.
In a closed session held before Wednesday’s public meeting, they directed the city attorney to write up the legal issues and costs of adding a non-discrimination clause to the special permit used by parade organizers. The report will be presented at the March 27 meeting.
The move came after members of the Partnership of Viet Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organizations asked the council on Feb. 13 to add the clause.
Earlier that month, the group had been barred from marching in the Tet parade by its organizers, a coalition of local groups that stepped in to fund the event when the city said it couldn’t.
Since then, the city has held several face-to-face meetings and phone calls with the LGBT group and its lawyers, City Attorney Richard Jones said.
Even though the council has voiced support for the LGBT group, there are “significant First Amendment issues here,” Jones said. “When you put [the parade] in private parties’ hands you lose control, so that’s what we’re balancing.”
On Wednesday night, more than a handful of residents made impassioned pleas on the LGBT group’s behalf. Some quoted the U.S. Constitution; one quoted the New Testament. All had the same message: stop the discrimination.
Natalie Newton, head of the Partnership of Viet Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organizations, said discrimination comes many forms.
“This year it’s LGBT,” she said. “But in the future it could be any group.”
In other matters, the council agreed in a 5-0 vote to bring back the Commission on Aging and Youth Committee. Both had been disbanded during fiscal belt-tightening.
Contact the writer on Twitter @nicolekshine.