UPDATE: An organizer of a pride celebration in Longview on June 21 says Mayor Jay Dean has given a letter of support for the event.
Vik Verma, an ally of the local chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), says organizers received the letter, after Dean said he would not issue a proclamation for the event because of wording in the document.
LONGVIEW (KYTX) - A Longview organization is putting together what is believed to be East Texas' first gay pride celebration June 21, but it doesn't appear organizers will get a proclamation of support from the local mayor.
The local chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG, is organizing Longview's first gay Pride celebration, scheduled 5pm-9pm Saturday, June 21, at Heritage Park.
The chapter applied to the City of Longview for a proclamation from the mayor and city council for the event, but Mayor Jay Dean tells CBS 19 he's not signing a proclamation for the event.
Dean says he's neither homophobic nor is against any group of people in the Longview community, but he believes homosexuality contradicts the teachings of his Catholic faith, saying his opinions echo those of Pope Francis.
In September, Pope Francis said the church has no right to "interfere spiritually" in the lives of gays and lesbians, according to a report from CNN.
Vik Verma, a straight ally for PFLAG, says he's talked with Mayor Dean more than once about signing the proclamation. Verma says this issue is not about one person, but about a sizable part of Longview's community being acknowledged that it is part of the community.
"There are a lot of kids in our community who aren't allowed to be open about who they are, because of the fear, and I think this proclamation will show people that Longview is a tolerant city, that Longview embraces diversity, and it's OK to be who you are," Verma says. "I think that's important."