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Brown OKs establishing June as Pride Month

by Alex Madison

Our Family Coalition had a large contingent in last month's San Francisco Pride parade. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland
Our Family Coalition had a large contingent in last month's San Francisco Pride parade. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland  

Governor Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation establishing June as Pride Month by statute in California.

While the governor has regularly issued a proclamation declaring June as Pride Month in the Golden State, now the matter is law.

Brown signed Assembly Bill 2969, authored by gay Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) and co-authored by all members of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus. It passed the state Senate in May with a bipartisan vote of 59-0, and previously passed the Assembly.

"California has the largest LGBT population of any state in the union, and the state is home to over 40 LGBT Pride celebrations each year," said Low in a news release. "I want to thank Governor Brown for adding Pride to the list of celebrations codified in statute."

Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, the state's largest LGBT rights organization, thanked Brown for signing the bill at a time when LGBT civil rights are being rolled back by President Donald Trump and his administration.

"In the face of a president who refuses to recognize Pride Month, we're deeply grateful to Governor Brown, Assemblymember Low, and the entire LGBT caucus for recognizing the LGBTQ community's role in California and California's role in the LGBTQ civil rights movement," Zbur wrote in an email to the Bay Area Reporter.

The bill honors the history of LGBT Pride and the larger modern LGBT rights movement that dates back to the late 1960s at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan. On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, as it had many times before, but on this day the LGBT community fought back. Political organizing soon followed.

Celebrating the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a Pride parade was held in New York City in 1970, the first of its kind. Today, Pride is celebrated all over the world.

Locally, San Francisco has had an annual Pride event for 48 years. It is the largest gathering of the LGBT community and its allies in the country. The B.A.R. reached out to the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee for a comment but did not hear back by press time.

Though Pride is a time to acknowledge the progress the LGBT community has made in terms of civil rights and societal acceptance, it is also a time to remind people of the struggle LGBT people still face across the globe, leaders said.

"In big cities and small towns, in every corner of our state, Pride is a time for Californians to come together and celebrate our progress - while continuing the fight for full equality," said Zbur.

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