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Gay rights activists arrested after Calif. city rescinds pride month proclamation

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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PORTERVILLE, Calif. — Three gay rights activists are facing charges Wednesday morning after protesting a city council vote to reject a proclamation passed by the mayor last month that declared June as LGBT Pride month in Porterville.

Observers said the protestors — members of the activist group Get Equal — stage a peaceful civil disobedience, and were quickly arrested and detained by police who refuse to cooperate and allow for the peaceful protest when approached by the demonstrators prior.

Most law enforcement agencies work with protestors before an event, to discover what attendees plan, and to explain arrest procedures, reported the Visalia Times-Delta.

But Porterville police refused discussions before the event, and booked those arrested at county facilities. Most other jurisdictions cite arrestees to appear at court, and release them after processing.

It was reported that police dragged people out of the council chambers in a scene was referred to as “almost like a brawl.”

The controversy first erupted last month when Mayor Virginia Gurolla issued the proclamation recognizing the LGBTQ community at a June 4 city council meeting, despite a unanimous objection by city council members.

Issuing proclamations is solely the jurisdiction of the mayor, but the rest of the city council typically signs onto the document. However, none of the city councilors joined Gurolla in supporting the proclamation, and instead promised to rescind it and threatened to recall the mayor.

The council voted Tuesday evening to cancel the proclamation and replace it with a resolution to call June “a month of community charity and goodwill to all in Porterville.”

The Porterville City Council was the only city government in the state to support Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage in California in 2008.

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