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3 arrested over city's LGBT proclamation

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POSTED July 17, 2013 9:40 p.m.

PORTERVILLE  (AP) — Police in the central California town of Porterville say they arrested three people protesting the City Council's decision this week to rescind a proclamation declaring June lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride month.

The protesters were arrested at the City Council meeting on suspicion of disorderly conduct, said Porterville Police Department spokesman Dominic Barteau. One of them was also arrested on suspicion of resisting a police officer and disturbing the peace, Barteau said.

The arrests came after the council on Tuesday canceled the proclamation issued by Mayor Virginia Gurrola last month. A Porterville resident requested the proclamation after President Barack Obama this year declared June LGBT Pride Month.

Supporters at the standing-room only council meeting said the proclamation promoted tolerance and they deserved to feel comfortable in the city. Rescinding it, they said, would send a message that gays and lesbians are not welcome in Porterville.

Opponents objected to the proclamation on religious grounds. "For us to accept this proclamation would be calling God's word, the holy bible, a lie," resident Trina Leon told the council while waving a Bible.

The council voted to replace the LGBT proclamation with a resolution calling June a month of community charity and goodwill to all.

In 2008, the Porterville City Council approved a resolution in support of Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California. The Supreme Court last month let stand a lower court ruling overturning the ban.


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