For some people, change doesn’t come easily. When it comes to the acceptance of diversity in sexual orientation, not easy isn’t the half of it. Back in 2010 a small band of bigoted elected officials and Vietnamese community leaders in Westminster tried to have a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) group excluded from participation in the annual Tet Parade held in Westminster. Their problem was that since the event was put on by the city they could not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. In a written statement in Vietnamese the then Parade Committee Chairman, Councilman Andy Quach said;
Personally, I oppose the participation of this group in a traditionally joyous cultural celebration of the Vietnamese people.
However, as an elected official of the City of Westminster, I cannot discriminate any group or individual for political, religious, sexual orientation, or personal reasons. These are limitations in the law that all of us must accept.
Well, Quach and his band of bigots finally found a way to get around the issue. They turned over the operation of the parade to an external non-profit coalition and dropped their sponsorship, freeing the committee from non-discrimination rules. Despite the fact that an LGBT contingent has participated, without incident, in the Westminster Tet Parade since 2010, parade organizers have still failed to respond to the application by the LGBT contingent to participate in this year’s event. This year the event organizers have told the Partnership of Viet LGBT Organizations that they wanted to meet with the group first before approving their application. That meeting has finally scheduled for today, February 4th, six days before the February 10th event.
But the Partnership of Viet LGBT Organizations believes that the decision has already been made, and the meeting today with the parade committee president is simply for the purpose of informing them of the decision, rather than allowing them to make their case for participation.
In response, the Partnership of Viet LGBT Organizations has scheduled a rally to be held outside the office of the Tet Parade Committee today at 3 p.m. to protest the expected action. They are calling on “the City of Westminster to continue to uphold its mandate to protect public land for the fair and equal use of all protected classes, including LGBTs. Because the City has granted permission to members of the Tet Parade Board to run this year’s Parade, the City extends its municipal responsibility to groups therein. We publicly protest to call for LGBT inclusion in the Little Saigon Tet Parade 2013.”
At a time when our Military has ceased discrimination against LGBT service members, our President has endorsed same-gender marriage equality and the elimination of the national Boy Scouts ban on participation of gay’s in the organization, and the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of bans on same-gender marriage and federal recognition of legal same-gender marriages, it is absurd that a small band of bigots would have the colossal nerve to attempt to impose their warped sense of morality on such a public community event.
While we would hope that the City of Westminster would weigh in on this matter, the timing of the decision makes that unlikely. It seems that Andy Quach has finally gotten his wish to discriminate without restriction.