Indy Pride spoke with Jim Merritt’s campaign earlier today and re-iterated that he was not welcome at the Indy Pride Parade and Festival. A distinction was made between being “welcome” and “permitted”. Those who have registered for the Pride Parade are permitted to choose their participants. If a group chooses to invite Jim Merritt to walk with them, as a private citizen, that is their choice. It was expressed that, based on his anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and voting record, he would not be welcome by Indy Pride or the majority of the community.
Indy Pride asked Merritt to release a statement detailing his support for the LGBTQ+ Community. He has consistently voted to define marriage as between one man and one woman; voted for RFRA, and the watered down “hate crimes” bill which Pride does not support because it intentionally excludes Trans and Non-Binary members of our community. Claiming to support the community with this bill is an inaccurate half-measure.
Allies marching in the Pride parade implicitly express support for marriage equality, equal housing rights, hate crimes legislation which includes transgender and nonbinary individuals, and that being part of the LGBTQ+ community is not a sin, a crime, or cause of shame. If Jim Merritt walks as planned, it is our hope that he expresses his change in beliefs publicly and specifically.