Benavides calls for review of Santa Ana event permits to ensure non-discrimination

LGBT Activist Jeff LeTourneau (left) and Santa Ana City Councilman David Benavides (right)

LGBT Activist Jeff LeTourneau (left) and Santa Ana City Councilman David Benavides (right)

On Monday, Santa Ana Councilman David Benavides requested that the City Attorney review the current requirements for event permit applicants using public spaces to ensure that there is a requirement that event organizers not discriminate on the basis of any protected status. In February, the the organizers of the Tet Parade held in Westminster denied the request of a a coalition of Vietnamese LGBT community organizations to participate in the parade. The applicant had participated in three prior parades when they were organized by the City of Westminster.

Under state law, the city is not allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. At that time, the groups that organized the parade this year called upon the city to reject the participation of the LGBT Coalition in the 201o parade. This year, citing the costs of producing the community event, the City Council backed out of coordination the event.

When the LGBT coalition applied this year, their application was rejected, and because the event was privately run, a judge denied an injunction request by the coalition. The denial of the request to participate in the parade led the Garden Grove School District to withdraw its participation in the parade. Subsequently, numerous elected officials including Benavides chose to not participate in the parade in light of the discrimination.

Benavides request may spark changes to the city permitting regulation to require that organizers of similar events in Santa Ana comply with state non-discrimination law. A similar effort is being pursued in Westminster.