While the issue of whether to permit the Delmarva Pride Center an event permit is a clear responsibility of the Easton Town Council, the impact of their decision reverberates throughout the entire Mid-Shore region with thousands of the LGBTQ+ community eager to continue their very popular annual festival in the town’s historic downtown.
And that’s why the Spy made it a point to tune into last night’s meeting, where the permit was up for approval. And perhaps, like many communities these days, a simple process of approval turned into a cultural debate of sorts on what was family-friendly and what is not, for this traditionally conservative town.
The issue became a parliamentary one as Ward Three’s David Montgomery asked that a vote be tabled until the Council and event planners could better understand community concerns about the event. That proposal set into motion a reviving and sometimes moving discussion among the Council members, Mayor Megan Cook, Pride Delmarva event coordinator Tina Grace Jones and psychiatrist James Kelly.
After considerable discussion, Councilperson Montgomery agreed to a vote on the permit, and the request was granted by a three-to-two majority. (Curry, Abbatiello, and Davis voted in favor, Gunsallus and Montgomery against).
It was also a reminder that civil debate is still possible as the region and country face similar cultural change in the years ahead.
The following is an edited edition of the deliberations. The entire meeting can be seen here.
This video is approximately 25 minutes in length.