LGBT Pride Banners are back on Heber’s Main Street, but with seemingly less controversy from last year.
Last June, rainbow color banners reading “Pride in the Wasatch Back” appeared on Heber City’s Main Street, those banners caused a stir with some citizens voicing opposition and others in support of the banners. Heber Mayor Kellen Potter says she hasn’t seen many comments on the pride banners, and most have been positive. Heber City’s policy for banners has remained the same for the past year.
“If someone requests to hang banners, if it’s not a commercial business and nothing that’s offensive or hate speech, then it would be approved,” Potter continued. “If there was no conflict with someone who had previously scheduled banners. Which is how it happened last year. Since then, the only thing we've changed is we’ve imposed a fee so that it doesn’t require any taxpayer money for the public works department to hang the flags or fix them when they get twisted or whatever. So, that’s all that’s changed.”
Potter says in the meantime the council is considering a new stricter policy on banners that would only allow for events that are city or county sponsored or initiated by the city or county.
“Things like the fair days, or the farmers market, or things like that,” Potter said. “That would eliminate some of the private citizen groups such as the pride flags, the veteran's flags, the gingerbread houses, we have a thing at Christmas time cottages for the children. So, I don't think this conversation is over, but they're going to bring it back and continue the conversation. I think the hope is to avoid turning Main Street into a battleground. Where some people, possibly even from outside the community, try to make a statement.”
Potter says they could leave room for events that ask the city for sponsorship, such as the Cowboy Poetry Festival.
Potter says regardless she feels the gay pride banners have helped spur useful dialogue in the city.
“It made a big difference in our community for people who have traditionally been marginalized and felt excluded and there’s been some connections made and really positive things came from it.” Potter explained. “Just like what we’re dealing with today. Let’s just listen to each other’s stories and see if we can have a better understanding and less divisiveness and contention. Be a place where everyone’s welcome. I’m hoping that's where we land, but we’ll see how it goes.”
The banners are scheduled to remain on Main Street for the rest of June which is LGBT pride month.