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Supervisors’ split on LGBTQ Pride Month reveals political divisions

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LGBTQ+ Pride Month vote

A resolution declaring June 2019 LGBTQ+ Pride Month in Prince William County passed Tuesday in a split vote. Board Chairman Corey Stewart voted against the move along with Supervisors Ruth Anderson, R-Occoquan, and Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville.

For the second year in a row, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors has declared June 2019 LGBTQ+ Pride Month. But the split vote underscored political divisions on the board ahead of the upcoming November elections.

LGBTQ Pride month, secondary art

Supervisor Frank Principi, D-Woodbridge, right, shakes hands with Jim O'Connor, left, president of Equality Prince William, after the board of supervisors approved a resolution declaring June LGBTQ+ Pride Month on Tuesday, June 18. Evelyn BruMar, a local advocate of the LGBTQ community, center, looks on.

More than 20 speakers came to the podium during the board’s afternoon meeting Tuesday, June 18, to express their support for a resolution declaring June 2019 “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and More Pride Month” and to urge supervisors to do the same. No one spoke against the resolution and it ultimately passed in a 5-to-3 vote.

Supervisor Frank Principi, D-Woodbridge, introduced the measure. It saw support from nearly the same bipartisan mix of supervisors who voted in favor of it last year. They included Supervisors Maureen Caddigan, R-Potomac, Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, and Marty Nohe, R-Coles as well as Supervisor Victor Angry, D-Neabsco. Angry wasn’t on the board last year, but his predecessor, the late Supervisor John Jenkins, also voted in favor of the LGBTQ+ Pride Month resolution in 2018.

Voting against the resolution were Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, R-At Large, as well as Supervisors Ruth Anderson, R-Occoquan, and Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville.

Stewart has declined to run for re-election this fall. But both Anderson and Lawson have Democratic opponents in the Nov. 5 election, and both spoke in favor of the Pride Month resolution during citizens’ time.

Kenny Boddye, the Democratic nominee challenging Anderson in the November race, said there are moral, public safety and economic reasons to support the resolution. Boddye noted the high rates of self-harm and suicide among the LGBTQ community and cited the need for communities to “fully embrace them.”

Boddye also said the resolution “shows we are open for business for everyone … that we’re an inclusive community and we’re open to all.”

Maggie Hansford, a Prince William County speech teacher and the Democratic nominee challenging in Lawson in the fall, said voting in favor of the resolution “is the right thing to do.”

“Our children, our families our business community – everyone -- benefits from inclusion and the acceptance of everyone,” Hansford said.

Other Democratic candidates for the supervisors’ seats released statements in favor of the proclamation or sent representatives to speak in their stead.

Organizers urged supporters to show up for the meeting after noting the resolution was listed in the “supervisors’ time” portion of the meeting and not on the “consent agenda,” where items are usually approved without debate. That move caused organizer Evelyn BruMar and others to fear the resolution faced an uphill fight.

Stewart acknowledged Wednesday that he alone decided where the resolution would appear on the agenda.

“The consent agenda is for items that are not expected to be controversial,” Stewart said. “The appropriate place for the resolution was supervisors’ time.”

Anderson said she had no role in where the item appeared on the agenda.

“I had nothing to do with it,” she said Wednesday. “No one asked me for my opinion and I didn’t offer it.”

Neither Stewart nor Anderson commented on the resolution before voting against it. The same was true of all of the supervisors; there was no discussion either for or against the measure before the vote.

When asked about the vote Wednesday, Stewart said he doesn’t believe it’s the government’s role “to celebrate, condone or otherwise judge someone’s sexual orientation,” which was the same explanation he gave for voting against the measure in 2018.

Anderson said she believes the measure was unnecessary given that the supervisors also approved a more general resolution calling Prince William County a “hate-free, bigot-free” zone.

“I think there are so many things we could vote on that are very specific to various groups of people,” Anderson said. “I didn’t see any merit or any real usefulness” to the resolution.

During the meeting, several speakers said declaring June LGBTQ+ Pride Month is meant to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York City, considered the start of the LGBTQ civil rights movement, and affirms that LGBTQ individuals are accepted and welcome.

Some noted that federal civil rights laws, like those in Virginia, offer no protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and that LGBTQ Pride Month resolutions are a way to draw attention to that fact.

“I’m upset that I have to be here again so we can debate the worth of my life; so we can debate my wife’s life, or my adopted child’s life,” said Evelyn BruMar, a Brentsville resident and advocate for the LGBTQ community, during her time at the podium. “This should be an automatic, easy pass. If you support protecting foster children, civil rights issues, equal access to voting and even access to health care, just the basics … the LGBTQ community should be no different. We are in every one of those demographic groups.”

Jim O’Connor, president of Equality Prince William, said the LGBTQ community “wants no special treatment” other than to be treated like everyone else.

“But that doesn’t always happen, so that’s why we need to make June LGBTQ Pride month,” O’Connor said.

Still, both Anderson and Stewart said they don’t agree with that line of thinking.

“I do understand it,” Anderson said of their arguments, “but I don’t think this resolution would fix that.”

“I don’t go for that,” Stewart said. “Obviously, people have been persecuted for many different reasons.”

Reach Jill Palermo at

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(28) comments


This is why people are not for LBGT. As it states... trashy-drag-show-a-fundraiser is not what people want to teach they’re kids. Fundraisers can be done without being trashy.


Strange, in looking at the past event’s page, there’s nothing that states that “people” did not want it. What “people” are you referring to them not wanting it? It seems like a highly attended event.


Nothing more than identity politics. It's all about your skin color, sex, sexual preference etc. I for one have no use for it. If we are supposed to be a nation of equals then why would I care about your sexual orientation?


As I have said more than once, but I’ll say it again. If you want to understand, reach out to Equality Prince William. That’s only if you truly want to understand.


I agree!


I find the whole issue anti-religious.


Fortunately, you’re in the minority on this one. If that was not true, all of the fake outrage last year, would have been duplicated this year.


A little off topic but what does Prince William Times use to screen opt-in comments? Facebook? Common everyday words that are rejected because they are profanity? Come on!


I don't understand why we need, one full month, for them to celebrate. Most celebrations are for, one day. Soon, they will be asking for the entire year.


If you want to understand, reach out to Equality Prince William. That’s only if you truly want to understand.


Why do I get the feeling that "truly understanding" means you will agree with the LGBT "profanity deleted stuff" even though your entire essence despises everything about it? If that is what Equality Prince William is about I'll pass.


Despise what?


My comment to you was intended to be a question. But since you reversed it back into my court I despise the LGBT lifestyle, any person, organization, politician or educator that advocates for or embraces it and any group, person or organization that kneels to and or submits itself to accepting LGBT behavior as any sort of a normal part of our society. Last, but most of all I vehemently despise those teachers that take advantage of them by teaching LGBT behavior is okay, then sending them off to challenge their parents at home to do the same thing regardless of their beliefs and convictions. Not good. Not good at all.


Just the fact that you use the term “kneel” and “submit” means you truly don’t get it, don’t want to get it, and have no intention of getting it. The LGBTQ community does not care who I love or identify as, since my lifestyle does not negatively impact their life, which mirrors the fact that their lifestyle does not negatively impact my life. “Love Wins!”


Couldn't agree more Joseph.


“Love Wins!” Really? I would call it complacency. But we'll do it your way, which you say is working smooth and silky just like it is. But, if all of your “Love Wins!” reaches out someday and inflicts serious, irreversible physical and/or psychological damage to a member of your family what will your swan song be thing? Not possible? Check the news everyday Joseph. Start with the good places like churches, daycare centers, schools then drill down into the fabric of our society using the police daily crime reports and registered sex offender databases. How many could there be in your zip code. Not many... whatever they aren't doing anything that negatively impacts you right?


CCW, please take your scare tactics elsewhere, because it’s not working with me. I’m well aware of the concerns within my zip code and in areas around my community. Knowledge is power and will not be swayed by your scare tactics. So yes, LOVE WINS!!!


"Knowledge is power and will not be swayed by your scare tactics". Joseph if knowledge is power that keeps you from being swayed by (my) scare tactics you are the one that truly does not understand. LGBT advocates represent a tiny speck of the population in our country. But it receives a gigantic amount of attention championed by the International Socialist- Marxist liberal news / entertainment media and the Democrat National Party. The idea is to divide the people of a nation into groups and factions so that they are fighting each other all of the time. It produces hatred that often leads to outright civil violence. As such the LGBT movements have and are causing major damage to our country by riding the resultant wave crests of the out-of-sync, self aggrandizing two-party political split. As long as you (or anyone) is content to sit back and accept the perversions of LGBT as knowledge and true understanding it will continue. Your comments are usually well reasoned and fairly tempered Joseph. But on the LGBT issue my knowledge and true understanding comes straight from the word of God as best as I am able to understand it. His Word is my courage inspiration, knowledge and strength. None of those things will ever come from the confusion of a man-made fabrication like LGBT is in the world we live within today.


IF you are truly directed by the Word of God, then maybe you missed Kristin Nohe’s Citizen’s Time moment and should go back to listening to it. Based off of your attempted “scare tactics” that does not seem to be the norm now (compared to last year), I highly doubt you would bother to do so, unless your main intent is to find holes in it.


Exercising a biblical view of homosexuality in politics only serves to drive it underground. It is part of nature and does not care what you believe. Legislating against it, does nothing to prevent it. If Bob Marshal spent more time on the traffic problem and less on bathroom bills, he might still be in office.


why is this some sort of holiday now please stick to what is important


I wouldn’t have mattered if anyone spoke against it it would of happened anyway. Several if not all retailers, fast food & restaurants were all celebrating it. I’m not against it but I still do not see why it needs to be done.


As I said to Faye, “If you want to understand, reach out to Equality Prince William. That’s only if you truly want to understand.“


Understand what? Why a pride month is needed? As I stated before I have nothing against LBGT community. I just find it ridiculous that it needs to be a month. There are many other groups/communities/organizations that don’t celebrate for a month. If you notice it’s not the celebration of the LBGT but the fact that it’s a month and not a day like everyone else does. Plain and simple give it a day not a month like everyone else gets.


How many other “groups/communities/organizations” have been targeted, either by bullying, physical attacks, to include death, are there?


You mean like black history or hispanic culture? These are events to bring discrimination into the open. To draw attention to members of those communities that have achieved something or worked to help their communities. If there was no racism or homophobia, these celebrations would not be necessary.


Thankfully many more don't celebrate it. We need a straight pride month just to be equal, lol. Isn't the next pride march next week and then the week after that and so on and so on.


Just as you need a white history month? The reason for these declarations and celebrations is because there is not equality. Racism and homophobia are still rampant.

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