‘This is not contagious’: Grand Strand Pride holds peaceful rally after county council rescinds Pride Month

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 10:02 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Members and supporters of Grand Strand Pride held a peaceful protest outside of the Government Building in Conway after the council’s vote to rescind the designation of June as Pride Month in Horry County.

“The Council still did not seek our voice in the community, simply listening to a few despite the separation of church and state,” said Ray Dobell, the chair of Pride Month.

Councilman Danny Hardee, who made the motion to reconsider R-51-2022 on June 7, did not make any comment Tuesday night.

Previously, Hardee told WMBF News he wanted R-51-2022 reconsidered so he could vote no because it is not something he believes in.

Grand Strand Pride said it is collectively heartbroken over the decision, and that the rally is about making their voices heard.

“We wanted to make sure that the council knows that we are here, that we are visible and we are their constituents,” Dobell said. “We are the individuals of Horry County.”

One by one, supporters spoke out.

“Do you know what message it sends to an already marginalized group of kids - when their local elected officials take away a month celebrating them?” said Nick M., a Horry County resident.

“To rescind pride month is at best an act of cowardice and at worst an appeal to the fascists, slowly swallowing our country like a snake to its prey.”

One man said he is in support of the Council’s decision to rescind the designation, saying, “I want to commend you for having the intestinal fortitude that you did in rescinding the Gay Pride Month of June.”

“This is not contagious,” said Katrina Morrison, who lives in Horry County. “Being gay should not be an issue for council to not support.”

Meanwhile, outside, around a hundred people showed their support for the rally.

“I’ve got a personal stake in it,” said Bruce Berghegger. “My son is gay, he and his husband live in Hawaii. That’s the biggest reason I’m a huge supporter here.”

None of the other council members had comments Tuesday; however, council member Johnny Vaught previously told one constituent in an email WMBF News was CCed on, “I think maybe a too permissive society has caused lots of unforeseen consequences.”

Hardee and other council members were escorted to their cars by Horry County Sheriff’s deputies “for safety reasons.”

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