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In wake of holiday parade controversy, Taylor council to vote on new special events policy

The policy would exclude sponsorship approval for events with discriminatory beliefs.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Taylor City Council on Thursday discussed new policy regarding special event qualifications, and one local activist group is not pleased with the potential updates.

Up for discussion was Agenda Item #13, approving new guidelines regarding requesting City co-sponsorship of special events, which includes financial support and services for such events.

The guidelines include the establishing of a Special Events Co-Sponsorship Committee that will help facilitate and approve requests. The committee will help make sure groups are abiding by the newly established guidelines and that they fit set criteria, such as:

  • Must be a non-profit Texas corporation, federally tax-exempt under the Internal Revenue Code (501 (c) 3) or public agency; 
  • Must demonstrate corporate good standing with the state of Texas at the time of application; 
  • The applicant must be based in the City of Taylor and hold the event for which support is requested in the City of Taylor; 
  • Must have programming, administrative practices and board membership that does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship, familial, disability, or veteran status; 
  • If previously sponsored, applicant must have successfully fulfilled all prior contracts; 
  • The applicant cannot represent a for-profit enterprise.

The discussion comes after recent controversy surrounding the Taylor holiday parade. The City of Taylor recently decided to host its own separate parade after certain groups were left out of this year's Taylor Area Ministerial Alliance parade.

Last month, KVUE learned that members of Taylor Pride were excluded from the 2022 parade due to new verbiage in the application that prohibits floats that contradict with the alliance's biblical and family values.

Taylor Pride reported that it did participate in the parade last year, however, when the ministerial alliance learned that there were drag performers on their float, things changed. The alliance stated on Facebook that the Pride float was not in line with its beliefs.

"We had two drag queens on our float last year," said Denise Rodgers, Taylor Pride co-founder, last month. "Very appropriately dressed and very appropriately performing. Very age-appropriate and family-friendly drag queens in general."

Conservative activist group Texas Values has not taken kindly to Thursday's discussion, claiming that the new proposed policy would disqualify and "essentially bans Christians" from taking part in City-sponsored events, including the parade.

"The city council of Taylor has put themselves on the naughty list this Christmas season," said Jonathan Covey, director of policy for Texas Values. "Their 'woke' ideology and war on Christmas is unconstitutional and harming people of faith. They must immediately reject this radical LGBT policy and represent their constituents with common sense. Drag queens don’t belong in Christmas."

Texas Values hosted a press conference at 5 p.m. in front of the Taylor City Council building at 400 Porter St.

The ministerial alliance shared the following statement on Tuesday:

"Taylor Area Ministerial Alliance is aware of what the city council is doing with regards to changing city policy for co-sponsoring events. Yes, it would exclude TAMA at multiple points (we are not a 501c3 for example). On the other hand, this change will create some unintended consequences for city-sponsored events and create new opportunities for outreach and participation in said events. Regardless of this change, the current city council members have already made it abundantly clear they are unwilling to work with TAMA on future Christmas parades (for now). Nothing they or anyone else can do will stop TAMA from standing up for truth and ministering in and to this community. We will press on toward the goal and never compromise on the holy Word of God and our command to love as Christ loved."

While the council did hear public comment Thursday, it did not take a vote.

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