City & Government, Cottage Grove

Grove celebrates first Pride Month: Not all councilors back City’s proclamation

COTTAGE GROVE – Councilor Chalice Savage read the City’s first Pride Month Proclamation on May 28 after mayor Candace Solesbee, one of two people to vote against the proclamation, refused to do so herself.

The proclamation recognizes and proclaims this June as Pride Month and that “everyone should be able to live without fear of prejudice, discrimination, violence, and hatred based on race, ethnicity, religion, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, mental or physical disability.”

Although the proclamation received a 5-2 vote, and the majority called for it to move forward, council president Greg Ervin requested it be removed from the consent agenda and discussed as the meeting’s final topic to explain his disapproval.

He listed some proclamation topics that he deemed appropriate – like trees, which he can see the benefit of for the whole Cottage Grove community – to emphasize his point: Celebrating Pride Month does not benefit all of Cottage Grove.

“I didn’t ask for this conversation. I’m not one to push that on anyone else, but I don’t celebrate things that I think are sinful, and that’s the main point,” Ervin said. “If you’re going to ask me to celebrate something, as I understand Pride to be a celebration, I won’t because I have to live by my conscience.”

Fleck used his faith to counter Ervin’s point, which was rather faith-driven.

“What I stand for is that every citizen has the rights under our constitution to freedom. Period. It’s not my job to judge. In fact, my faith tells me ‘judge not lest ye be judged,’” Fleck said. “I do like the way this is written, basically that we’re talking about rights. We’re not talking about choices. We’re talking about people’s freedoms, and I support that 100%”

Solesbee also explained why she did not vote in favor of the proclamation, after slipping in that she had gay loved ones who knew she was not homophobic for opposing the Pride Month Proclamation.

“I just don’t believe that government should be weighing in on people’s sexuality,” she said.

Solesbee called this “tribalism” and “identity politics” and re-emphasized that “the City shouldn’t play a role in this because we speak for all citizens, and I don’t think that necessarily all citizens agree with this.”

Savage contested: “I do believe this can be utilized as a way to recognize some amazing folks in our community as a City. Talking with the hospital, there are many folks that go into the hospital who identify as LGBTQ+, and they do not feel supported or loved or heard, so I think a statement by the City saying, ‘We hear you; we see you’ should be as simple as that.”



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos