Petition aims to stop first Pride event in Scottish city in 15 years
A Christian man has gathered hundreds of signatures to stop a Pride event from taking place in the Scottish city of Inverness.
Donald Morrison has submitted a petition with about 600 signatures to the local Highland Council opposing the Proud Ness parade, set to take place on October 6, which would be the first known LGBT+ celebration to be organised in the city since 2002.
Morrison, an Inverness resident and a home mission worker with the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), claimed the event would be a spectacle too immoral to behold.
“[Pride participants] thrust lewdness in the faces of men, women and children alike by frolicking unashamedly on rainbow-coloured floats making obscene sexual gestures,” he said, quoted in local news outlet Inverness Courier.
“If this unsavoury event is given planning permission then these desperately sad scenes are now likely to be witnessed very tragically in Inverness on October 6,” he added.
PinkNews has contacted Morrison for comment. A spokesperson for the Highland Council has confirmed receipt of the petition to PinkNews, adding that the grounds on which the appeal seeks to ban the event are unlikely to stop the parade.
“We can confirm that the Council has received a petition regarding the proposed parade which is currently being considered under the Council’s Petitions Procedure,” the spokesperson said, adding: “The matters raised in the petition are not sufficient reason for the Council to refuse permission for the parade, and the petition is being considered separately.”
The parade has yet to receive official authorisation.
“This is currently being considered under consultation with Police Scotland and the Council’s Roads Team. A decision on the parade will be made next week and a Temporary Traffic Restriction Order would be required for the march,” the spokesperson told PinkNews.
Morrison, who previously stirred controversy for arguing that women shouldn’t be allowed to have a voice in the church, has also been criticised for the initiative.
Local resident Kevin Paterson told PinkNews: “As a local gay man who’s just relocated back here after eight years living in London, where I could be free and open without the worry at this sort of rubbish being touted about in your face, I’m absolutely appalled that they’ve gone to this effort to condone our freedom of expression and that their particular language they used to describe us, is far from being progressive and inclusive—something the church needs to shape up and be.”
A counter-petition started by Inverness-shire native Alice Deanne on Change.org has gathered more than 600 signatures within the first 24 hours of being online. Another counter-petition started two days ago, also on Change.org, has already gathered more than 3,000 signatures.
Deanne, who is a social worker, told PinkNews she started the petition because she strongly believes in advocating with, and for, those who are treated unfairly.
“I’m a big supporter of LGBT+ rights because we are all human, and everyone should be treated equally regardless of their gender or sexuality,” she said, adding: “The anti-Proud Ness petition shows there is still a long way to go towards LGBT people being accepted and valued in their local community.”
It is unclear how many of those who signed the appeal on Change.org are local residents, but at least one of the signatories used to live in the Scottish city.
“I left Inverness for this exact reason,” Andrea Johnson wrote explaining the reason for signing the petition. “It’s 2018 you can do better.”
This article was updated with information about a second counter-petition.