Governor Pence Issues Letter to Spencer Pride; Organization Responds

Governor Pence's Letter to 2015 Spencer Pride Festival AttendeesOn Thursday, amidst much social media buzz around Indiana Governor Pence’s letter to Indy Pride, Spencer Pride also received a similar letter from the Governor.

In the letter, the Governor began with “on behalf of the people of Indiana, it is a pleasure to welcome you to Owen County.” He went on to describe the beautiful features of our county, including McCormick’s Creek State Park, Cataract Falls, and the Tivoli Theatre.

Calling Spencer a ‘charming rural community,’ Governor Pence then summarized his letter by sharing his confidence that attendees “will come to know a vibrant town and our famous Hoosier Hospitality.”

“While we are honored and grateful that Governor Pence took time to issue a letter of welcome to Spencer Pride, we would have appreciated if the Governor had taken a few extra moments to mention LGBT people, equality, or the actual festival itself in the body of the letter,” said Spencer Pride Inc. president Jonathan Balash.

“It’s like welcoming people to a county fair without mentioning agriculture or the fair itself.”

“Given the passage of RFRA and the corresponding ‘fix’ that garnered tremendous national attention on Indiana this year, Hoosier are looking for better leadership when it comes to issues of equality for all people. It would have been nice for Governor Pence to acknowledge these important issues, even if he disagrees with how to approach them,” Balash concluded.

Governor Pence was invited to attend the 2015 Spencer Pride Festival but we received notice this week that the Governor is unable to do so. Perhaps for our 10th anniversary festival scheduled in June of 2016 we can work to secure his presence at our event.

The letter from Governor Pence follows other letters received by Spencer Pride Inc. from elected officials, including letters from United States Senator Joe Donnelly (Indiana) and the minority leaders of the Indiana General Assembly, Scott Pelath (House Democratic Leader) & Timothy Lanane (Senate Democratic Leader). Unlike the Governor’s letter, the other messages included strong words of support for the work of Spencer Pride Inc. and for the overall goals of equality for LGBT People.

The 2015 Spencer Pride Festival takes place on Saturday June 6 from 10 AM until 5 PM in downtown Spencer on the Owen County Courthouse square.  The festival is 100% family-friendly and admission-free.  Parking is also free.  The festival features a huge marketplace with more than 85 vendors, all-day live entertainment, a lot of activities for the whole family, and much more!