Pride parade still on despite emails to mayor’s office

According to city officials, the pride parade planned for this weekend will not be rained on.

Despite receiving over 300 emails Wednesday afternoon urging Mayor Lioneld Jordan to withdraw the city’s support for the parade and other festivities including a mayoral proclamation, Fayetteville Communication Director Lindsley Smith said Saturday’s activities will go on as scheduled.

“The Mayor is still excited,” said Smith. “Everything’s still on.”

Most of the messages included identical body copy which came pre-loaded in an online action form set up by the American Family Association. Nearly all of them began with the statement, “I am shocked to learn that the city of Fayetteville is issuing a proclamation in support of the homosexual activist group, Northwest Arkansas Pride.”

Smith said the majority of the emails were from non-Fayetteville residents.

The AFA issued a press release earlier this afternoon criticizing the recent announcement that 10-year-old Will Phillips will serve as grand marshal of Saturday morning’s parade. AFA President Tim Wildmon says allowing Phillips to lead the parade is a form of child abuse.

“It’s shameful that adults would abuse a brain-washed child in this way,” said Wildmon. “He’s obviously just parroting the nonsense he’s been told by manipulative adults.”

Wildmon called on Mayor Jordan to cancel his plans to issue the proclamation saying, “There is nothing about homosexual conduct to be proud of, and much to be ashamed of.”

Wildmon’s online form urged those in support of the AFA’s cause to fill in a custom subject line before submitting the message. “Are you Insane?” reads one subject line. “Please enter your own subject line,” reads another.

Saturday’s activities kick off at 10 a.m. on Dickson Street.