While the U.S. Supreme Court is dealing with Prop 8 and Defense of Marriage Act Arguments, the Westminster city council continues to struggle with demands from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered advocates for inclusion of the city’s Tet parade.
City Attorney Steve Jones reported during the meeting about the legal recommendations discussed in a closed session prior to the council meeting.
LGBT activists had asked the city to add a nondiscrimination clause in the city’s special permit license, after an LGBT was denied entry into the cultural parade held in February.
However, Jones said there is nothing that the city can do to enforce such a clause.
“Including a nondiscrimination clause to this effect is very likely to result in liability for the city and the city officials who administer and enforce the ordinance,” Jones said, during the meeting.
“The city cannot require them to allow gay and lesbian groups to participate in the parade, as long as it is a private event,” he added.
However, Jones did restate the city’s view on the whole situation.
“This city council continues to abhor any form of discrimination and in particular has gone on record with respect to the issue of discrimination, in respect to gay and lesbians and their ability to participate in public parades,” Jones said.
Jones also said a letter would be sent out to the Tet parade private organizers to request a meeting about the legal fees incurred as a result of the organizers decision
The city spent about $18,500 in fees overall, Jones said
Supporters of the LBGT group continued to voice their concern.
“This is not Rosa Park era anymore,” Hieu Nguyen said. “We’re living in 2013.”
“These are all individuals,” he added, later in the meeting. “It’s just not the LGBT group. These are human beings.”
“I only see her as a friend,” said Linda Banh, Westminster High School student. “I don’t understand why she doesn’t deserve the same rights as me.”
“As an immigrant I came here for freedom and opportunity and all that I feel like my friend deserves the same rights as me,” she added.
Neil Nguyen, president of the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California, said after the meeting that he hopes both sides can come to agreement.
He also acknowledged that he won’t be able to please everybody.
“I believe we need to have a mutual respect,” he said. “We need to sit down and resolve some of these issue.”