Augusta Pride parade, festival bring community together

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For Deborah Ivins, the third annual Augusta Pride parade and festival Saturday was proof of a community getting stronger and more organized.

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Marchers make their way down Broad Street at the start of the third annual Augusta Pride parade.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Marchers make their way down Broad Street at the start of the third annual Augusta Pride parade.

“The South has always been a quiet people,” the 25-year Augusta resident said. “People were afraid. People are still afraid.”

More than 3,000 people attended last year’s festival focusing attention on gay rights issues, and organizer Isaac Kelly said he expected more this year.

The day featured a packed schedule of performances at Augusta Common including music, comedians and speakers from across the country. Mr. and Ms. Augusta Pride were also featured in the morning’s parade and on stage.

“It was nice to see so many people waving this year,” Ivins said of leading the parade. “This event has made people braver. Now they march or even stand by the side of the road and wave. That counts.”

Ivins was given the lifetime achievement award at last year’s parade for her work with the gay community in Augusta. Ivins, who uses a wheelchair, said she has been marching and rolling since 1980, when her mother told her to stop.

“She said, ‘You’re not gay,’ ” Ivins said. “And I told her, I’m not black either but I march for them, too. Rights are rights.”

The day celebrated the anniversary weekend of the 1969 Stone­wall Riots in New York City’s Green­wich Village, which is cited as one of the first
times the community fought for gay rights.

Pierre Close and Angelo Cooper traveled to Augusta from their native Paris to take part in Saturday’s events. Close said they travel to a different city every year to celebrate and support gay rights.

“We heard about Augusta last year,” Close said. “We heard they might need numbers down here. It’s the South in America. We wanted to support these brave people.”

Cooper said he had been to festivals all over Europe and the U.S. Next year they plan on heading to South America.

This year’s Pride theme was “It’s time,” which Kelly said means it’s time for the gay community to come together and let Augusta know it exists and is a diverse and powerful group.

On the outskirts of the first turn of the parade on 10th Street, a handful of protesters stood with signs. Deputies said they did not cause any problems and left quickly after.

For Bishop Gregory Godsey of St. Francis of Assisi in North Augus­ta, the festival was a chance to reach out to a group of people who might not have been welcome at most churches.

“We want to send a message of inclusion,” he said.

In full brown monk’s robes, Godsey and Bishop Edmund Cass of Green­ville, S.C., stood in the 90-plus degree heat and spoke to parade-goers about St. Francis’ message.

“If he was here, he would be right in the middle of this,” Cass said, gesturing to the thousands swarming Augusta Common. “We would rather have all of these folk than 10 people who hate.”

Staff writer Stephen Dethrage contributed to this report.

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dstewartsr
20388
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dstewartsr 06/23/12 - 05:41 pm
5
3

A little close-minded and prejudiced?

"Close said. We heard they might need numbers down here. It’s the South in America."

Funny, if I were to make sweeping disparaging statements like that about alternative lifestyles, I would be called a hater and a homophobe.

Except for some extremists, which can be found everywhere, a Southern virtue --more practiced than proclaimed, in my experience-- is tolerance. Most of my acquaintances seem to follow my own lifestyle advice; "Whatever adults do that I don't have to fund, or join in, is okay by me."

And yeah, I went down this morning (before it got too hot) and saw nothing I hadn't at the last First Friday.

kiwiinamerica
838
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kiwiinamerica 06/23/12 - 06:45 pm
0
0

Gag!

Unpublished

Strange how the dictum "what happens in the bedroom is nobody's business" has been turned on its head.

Now the activists want to make it "everybody's business" and won't get out of our faces.

KSL
105945
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KSL 06/23/12 - 09:17 pm
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How many were in the parade

How many were in the parade and how many were watching? How many were visitors from outside the csra?

itsanotherday1
34722
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itsanotherday1 06/24/12 - 12:13 am
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Bantana

I hope you've noticed that on these forums, there is more tolerance shown than intolerance. Outright racists, homophobes, and dedicated bigots are a dying breed. I admit to having prejudices at times, but they are based on my life's experiences, not a preconceived or fabricated notion.

justthefacts
17993
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justthefacts 06/24/12 - 07:15 am
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4

Thank goodness

It's a good thing we still have "southern","white", "conservative", "men", around. Otherwise sterotypes might go away....

InChristLove
21781
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InChristLove 06/24/12 - 08:20 am
3
3

'that i will continue to

'that i will continue to learn from the new testament and christ's teachings to have some compassion for and show charity towards the poor, the sick, the dying, the imprisoned and the many, many souls that find themselves with the "short end of the stick". "

Why does this statement sound so sanctimonious? Although Christ teaches us to care for the poor and needy, what about following all of His teachings. What about the part where He teaches us to obey and to obstain from sexual immorality. Yes, all of us engage in sexual immorality in some form (even if it's in our thoughts) but to approve or boast about this sin while proclaiming the name of Christ, in my opinion is close to blasphamy. You are not honoring His name, you are patting yourself on the back for attending a church and doing a few good deeds for the needy.

itsanotherday1
34722
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itsanotherday1 06/24/12 - 08:26 am
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Bantana

In the long run, tolerance will win out as more and more people stop and think about how silly they look when condemning a gathering of people who mean them no harm, and will do them no harm. I've never witnessed a gay pride parade, nor do I intend to since their lifestyle and activities do not interest me. Seems a pretty simple philosophy to me, no?
I'm a heckuva lot more offended by people knocking on my door, disturbing my peace and tranquility, to hawk their particular brand of religion.
Peace to you as well my friend, our side will prevail.

InChristLove
21781
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InChristLove 06/24/12 - 08:35 am
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3

itsanotherday1, sorry to tell

itsanotherday1, sorry to tell you but Almighty God has already claimed the Victory. I will agree, it is good to be tolerant in our behavior towards others, but Christians still have the right to voice their belief. You are offended by someone knocking on you door to tell you God loves you, and I'm offended by someone parading down the street expressing their private sexual preference. Guess we will both have to live with it.

carcraft
20672
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carcraft 06/24/12 - 11:49 am
3
3

Ah yes, Tolerance and

Ah yes, Tolerance and understanding and mutual respect, unless you happened to want to disparage a dead American President in the White House, then you can throw decorum and protocol to the wind and flip off a protrait of Ronald Reagan. Off course the hate and disperagement only counts if it comes from a white conservative...

InChristLove
21781
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InChristLove 06/24/12 - 02:17 pm
1
2

Bantana, as Christians we

Bantana, as Christians we should not be concerned with what is taught in religion, but what is taught by Christ through his Word. We can find all kinds of excuses or justifcation for believing the way we do, but God's Word is Truth, no matter what we believe. His Word says sexual immorality is a sin and no amount of justification for it will make it right. If some choose to live that way, they are the ones that have to answer to God, but as a Christian, openingly celebrating sin to me is wrong and as a citizen of this world, for now I have a right to voice it. Others may agree or disagree, that is their right to voice also.

You mentioned your wife's grandfather....we are all human and even though this man knew his eternal destination, there are many reasons why we cling to this earth....could it have been that he did not want to leave the ones he loved, or maybe his faith was not as strong as it appeared to be. Either way, his reluctance to leave this earth should in no way be a judgment on his salvation (which it appears you are making). You comment concerning your great-great grandfather who was a methodist minister......we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No one said being a Christian makes us perfect people.

Lori Davis
501
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Lori Davis 06/24/12 - 02:59 pm
3
1

I attended the parade

I attended the parade yesterday and saw a well-behaved segment of our society that wanted recognition that they ARE a part of our society..Nothing more..nothing less.

Conservative Man
4578
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Conservative Man 06/24/12 - 03:07 pm
2
1

A different take

As a conservative with a gay brother, I have a unique perspective. He told me, in his words, "Even as a child, I've felt this way".
I'm sure there are some people who "experimented" and liked it so they "chose" to be gay.
But for whatever reason there seems, at least to me, some who were truly born gay. Or as I heard someone ask recently..."when did YOU decide to be straight?"..
I guess I'm trying to say....hate the sin...not the sinner.If these people want to march peacefully and lawfully then they should be allowed to ...period...

itsanotherday1
34722
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itsanotherday1 06/24/12 - 04:01 pm
2
2

ICL, how can you be offended

ICL, how can you be offended by something you CHOOSE to see? Flip that and how can you be offended by something you DON'T see?

On the other hand, someone I DON'T choose to see is knocking on my door hawking their wares. Now tell me with a straight face who has a right to be bothered.

InChristLove
21781
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InChristLove 06/24/12 - 04:30 pm
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itsanotherday1, the same way

itsanotherday1, the same way I don't choose to see the parade but hear about it through conversations and by seeing it in the paper. Yes, I can choose not to read the articles, just as you can choose not to answer the knock at the door and refuse to read any article that is faith based. We can choose our actions but that doesn't mean we aren't exposed to it, which is offensive.

itsanotherday1
34722
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itsanotherday1 06/24/12 - 09:10 pm
2
1

Begging your pardon, but a

Begging your pardon, but a knock on my door has already disturbed me, whether I answer it or not. Those people parading haven't done a darned thing to you unless you CHOOSE to read about them or CHOOSE to go watch them.

corgimom
19271
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corgimom 06/24/12 - 09:18 pm
2
2

I don't want anybody knocking

I don't want anybody knocking on my door that I don't know, and didn't invite, period. For some bizarre reason, some "Christians" seem to think that trespassing laws and respecting people's private property don't apply to them. That doesn't seem too Christian and respectful to me.

I wouldn't dream of trespassing on someone's private property and disturbing them to impose my Christian views upon them. It is rude, disrespectful, and inappropriate. But for some, that is immaterial. That's not any church that I would want to be a part of. If they don't respect you when you're a stranger, they won't respect you if you become a member of their church, either.

There is nothing in the Bible that says it's ok to trespass on people's private property in the name of Jesus. It is offensive and intrusive to me, and to many others.

In America, we are supposed to respect people's personal rights. That is part of living in America, and I have never understood why some people think that doesn't apply to them.

InChristLove
21781
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InChristLove 06/24/12 - 09:19 pm
1
1

itanotherday1, that is your

itanotherday1, that is your opinion and you are entitled to it but in my opinion, if those people parading prevent me from spending my Saturday downtown relaxing or shopping, then they have disturbed me. It's all in a matter on how you view it I suppose.

InChristLove
21781
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InChristLove 06/24/12 - 09:25 pm
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2

corgimon, unless you have a

corgimon, unless you have a no trespassing sign posted on your property, then I fail to see how someone coming to your door is tresspassing. If you do then I would agree you have a point. If you aren't interested then say so and I'm sure those church members will be glad to leave. Door to door witnessing by Christians are almost none existant anyway (except for Jehovah Witnesses or LDS) so I'd be interested on how many Christians have come knocking on your door in the last month?

flyguy
4
Points
flyguy 06/24/12 - 09:44 pm
2
1

It was a wonderful thing to see...!!

I was in town and was lucky enough to make it to the parade and festival on the Commons. Augusta really did an outstanding job!! World Class in my opinion. Great entertainment, food, music, sponsors....and I could go on and on. It was great seeing everyone together celebrating "Pride" as they choose to interpret it. Everyone behaved and the atmosphere was very friendly and inclusive. Local Businesses were very involved and I think that added to the event. I understand the Pride Augusta celebration is not very old, but boy do they know how to put on a show! I have already told friends to plan on spending some time in Augusta next year during pride. Actually, I told them to just spend more time there generally...Augusta rocks!!!

Fundamental_Arminian
1725
Points
Fundamental_Arminian 06/25/12 - 06:27 am
3
0

Sinful Feelings from Birth

    As a conservative with a gay brother, I have a unique perspective. He told me, in his words, "Even as a child, I've felt this way" (Conservative Man).

You raise a good question. If someone has certain feelings from birth, are those feelings genetic and therefore excusable?

The Bible says we're all born with a sinful nature, but this nature is not an excuse for sin. "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him" (Proverbs 22:15). "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies" (Psalm 58:3). The apostle Paul said, "... I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh" (Romans 7:18).

Homosexuality is one of many sins, and everyone of us has at least one difficult, stubborn sin to struggle against. Thanks to Christ, we can be forgiven our sins if we confess them and trust in the Lord Jesus as our Savior. What we must not do is deny that our sins are actually sinful. "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil" (Isaiah 5:20).

Fiat_Lux
13863
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/25/12 - 02:00 pm
1
1

What a genuinely smart guy/gal...

this Fundamental_Armenian is. I continue to be impressed by the grasp and clarity this commenter always demonstrates.

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