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No 'Pride Month' proclamation: Great Falls mayor draws criticism and praise

Cory Reeves on Facebook
Posted at 3:09 PM, Jun 05, 2024

GREAT FALLS — Residents of Great Falls poured into the Civic Center on Tuesday evening to take advantage of the public comment period regarding a Facebook post from Mayor Cory Reeves.

Reeves sparked some heated online conversations by stating that he will not issue a proclamation for "LGBTQ+ Month," often referred to as Pride Month.

Reeves stated in the post:

"As mayor, I have decided not to issue a proclamation for LGBTQ+ Month. While I firmly believe in equality for all individuals, I also believe that the government should not be involved in matters concerning personal and private relationships, whether they involve straight individuals or members of the LGBTQ+ community. My goal is to ensure that all citizens are treated with equal respect and dignity, without government interference in personal matters. The government should never condemn nor celebrate who should love who; those are personal life choices that the government should not interfere with."

The post gained traction with support and criticism toward the Mayor's actions.

Commissioner Rick Tryon issued his support on Facebook, writing, "I support your decision, Mayor Reeves."

Reeves' post was praised by some people, including Kelly Quick.

"Everyone knows June is Pride Month." Quick said. "If somebody came to the podium and tried to say there are no trout in the Missouri River, or if someone tried to refute a proclamation to celebrate 'Trout in the Missouri River Week,' we would call that person delusional."

Kelly Quick

Others criticized the move; Stacy DeKoning explained why wearing rainbow and transgender colors is important to them.

"It is not to show who is in my bed." DeKoning said. "It's for the couple in my neighborhood to feel comfortable... Here in Great Falls, there is a young person who believes that they'd be better off dead than trans or gay. I wear my pride because you would have some hide."

No 'Pride Month' proclamation: Great Falls mayor draws criticism and praise

Matthew Pipinich, a Great Falls business owner and administrator for the LGBTQ Center in town, offered the entire Commission the opportunity to participate in compassionate training to better understand the LGBTQ+ community.

The public comment period totaled around 20 minutes offering residents three minutes to state their concerns.

There was no one in attendance who spoke in support of the Mayor's decision.

One man, who addressed another concern with the city, said, "We can move on from the gay stuff..."

Mayor Reeves and all members of the City Commission allowed each resident in attendance an opportunity to speak. Reeves did not address the public's concern following the public comment period.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton officially designated June as "Gay and Lesbian Pride Month," solidifying a place for all in America. The historical significance of this move from the Clinton administration acknowledged the ongoing struggles for LGBTQ+ rights.

Former Mayor Bob Kelly designated June as Pride Month before not running for re-election last year.

Mayor Cory Reeves has not issued a public statement regarding Tuesday night's City Commission Meeting.

MTN News contacted Reeves for a statement to the public concern at Tuesday's meeting — Reeves told MTN he chooses not to comment on the matter.