‘Disgusted’ Republicans attack Mayor for taking part in Florida Pride event
Mayor Donna Deegan of Jacksonville, Florida is getting a lot of grief from “disgusted’ Republicans for deciding to take part in River City’s Pride celebrations.
Deegan made history this week as the first mayor to appear as the Grand Marshall of the River City Pride parade, much to the delight of organisers and attendees.
Sharing photos from the big day to social media, Mayor Deegan wrote: “Happy Pride! What a beautiful day to celebrate diversity and inclusion!”
Similarly, River City Pride organisers commemorated the special appearance, gushing over the “incredible honour” it was to have Mayor Deegan as their 2023 Grand Marshal.
“Your love and compassion for all citizens of Jacksonville, no matter who they are or who they love is the greatest love a mayor can give and we as an LGBTQ+ community feel your love!” read a post to the Pride event’s Facebook page.
“Thank you for being such a strong ally!”
It was particularly significant to see the city’s mayor take part in Pride celebrations, as the city of Jacksonville has seen a recent rise in anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination cases.
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From the Duval County school district ordering schools to remove all posters, decorations that affirm LGBTQ+ students to the Jacksonville First Baptist Church’s recent request for members to sign an anti-LGBTQ+ pledge, and Ron DeSantis’ general presence, it has been a tough year for LGBTQ+ Floridians.
However, local Republicans were nothing short of appalled to see Mayor Deegan take part in the festivities, rather dramatically describing her actions as “morally repugnant.”
Particularly worked up over Deegan’s display of allyship was Republican Representative Dean Black, who told Florida Politics that he and the rest of the Duval GOP were “disturbed and disgusted” to see Deegan’s participation in the parade, in which he alleged that “sex toys were displayed and condoms were handed out to children.”
Where Black, who was presumably couldn’t make it down to the Pride celebrations, heard of condoms being handed out to children is unclear.
Although there is a chance he might have picked it up from far-right media outlet Florida’s Voice, who made that very allegation, accompanied by a video of an adult holding a condom wrapper. No children featured in the video are seen holding the product.
“At best it is beneath the dignity of the mayor to attend events that seek to push sex on our children,” Black said.
“At worst, it is morally repugnant for any person, let alone the mayor, to be endorsing or supporting such behaviour.”
He continued: “We call on our elected representatives to take further steps to prevent this from happening again. It should not take legislation to enforce this commonsense principle: stop sexualizing our children,” Black added.
“Further, we call on Mayor Deegan to condemn and disavow this conduct, as well as give assurances that she will not continue to use her office to embarrass our city and disrespect parents.”
The local Republican Chairman of the Duval GOP even went as far as to suggest that legislation may have to be introduced to “prevent this from happening again.”
In response to Black’s comments, a statement from Mayor Deegan’s office defended her participation in the Pride parade.
“Mayor Deegan attended the River City Pride Parade to show her support for our LGBTQ+ community and commitment to diversity and inclusion,” the statement read.
“During her participation, she did not see any of the items that were alleged to have been present. What she did witness is people and families coming together to celebrate the beautiful mosaic that is Jacksonville.”
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