Pride Banners Stir Up Controversy In Heber City

Jun 11, 2019, 12:53 PM | Updated: 12:54 pm

HEBER CITY, Utah – LGBT Pride banners hanging along the streets in Heber City have caused controversy in the small mountain town after they were put up at the beginning of June.

“The most important thing is to say we can disagree, but I still value you as a human being and I still love you,” said Allison Phillips Belnap, who held back tears as she spoke to KSL TV Tuesday morning.

Belnap, who is a resident of Heber City, started a GoFundMe campaign to have rainbow banners that read “Pride in the Wasatch Back” put up across the city. She ended up raising around $2,500, and she put in a request with the city to hang the banners on Main Street lamp posts. The city approved.

However, on June 4, the day after the banners went up, some people began addressing their concerns at a city council meeting.

“(The meeting) included comments about, ‘I don’t want people’s sexuality flung in my face,’ ‘I was disturbed to see these flags,’ ‘That’s not a representation of my community,’” Belnap said of the comments directed at her.

Others voiced concerns about regulation, asking if Confederate banners or Nazi banners would also be allowed.

Mayor Kelleen Potter, who approved the flags, says she didn’t see an issue.

“I said it was OK because I looked at it like a civil rights celebration,” she said. “Like if someone had said, ‘Hey, can we put up flags for Martin Luther King Day and Black History month or the anniversary of Women’s rights to vote,’ we would have of course allowed that. So I looked at it in that same way.”

Potter admits there will likely be a conversation among city council to determine a more clear policy that would prohibit more inflammatory or political flags from going up. However, for now, the LGBT Pride flags will stay until the end of June.

Potter also said one of the city’s top three concerns among youth is mental health, depression and anxiety. Research shows when LGBT kids are accepted in the community and at school, those rates for all children go down.

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Pride Banners Stir Up Controversy In Heber City