Letter to the Editor: Parade debate is a welcome values discussion

My letter to the Tribune was published on on June 6 2014.

The Salt Lake City Council’s debate about the Days of ’47 Parade Committee’s rejection of Mormons Building Bridges’ entry is instructive.

While we agree with the ACLU’s letter to the council that a private, not-for-profit organization like the Days of ’47, Inc., has every right to determine who participates in their event — that this is a form of speech that should not be inhibited by any government officials — the council’s discussions have encouraged the community to ask important questions about what this parade means to all of us, and whether Mormons Building Bridges’ entry “Utah’s LGBT Pioneers” is an appropriate way to honor Utah’s pioneer heritage.

The Days of ’47 is not the only institution that could benefit from a community conversation about how best to achieve its laudable goals. Mormons Building Bridges has also been rejected from Provo’s July 4th Freedom Festival parade.

Parades at their best are a chance to connect with something bigger than ourselves. We leave affirmed that our town, our state, our country, is worth contributing to.

The ACLU has raised an important issue, but that doesn’t mean that ordinary Utahns shouldn’t be sharing their opinions with municipal leaders, parade organizers and sponsors about what The Days of ’47 means to them, and how best to craft a celebration that embodies the values we all share.

Erika Munson

Mormons Building Bridges