Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PFLAG Indianapolis Rallies for Equality

Topher Miller heard some shouting and experienced some disagreement but also found some common ground Monday at the "Rally for Equality."

The Lawrence man and two friends, Eastside resident Nichole Thomas and Downtown resident Shan Parker, came up with the rally idea after a controversy involving a bakery in a city-owned building. The city is investigating whether the Indianapolis City Market store's refusal to accept an order from a gay-friendly university organization violated a nondiscrimination ordinance, although the authors of that ordinance last week said it was never intended to apply to such a situation.

The three organizers, who Miller said belong to no specific group, don't want the cookie store to lose its lease; they want to encourage acceptance.

Miller said he believed the rally would be successful as he talked with a member of a group that demands legal and social equality for gay people and thinks the bakery should lose its lease.

"I had a personal conversation with someone from the GetEQUAL group that was there protesting," Miller said a few hours after the rally in the City Market's plaza. "The conversation that we had led to a really positive conversation. I explained two negatives are never going to make a right -- never. When you're looking at a situation like this, being negative about it is never going to bring together the city."

An estimated 300 people stopped at booths for several local gay-friendly organizations -- from Brothers United, a group that promotes health and wellness, to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, also known as PFLAG. Several Indianapolis businesses also had booths. Music, speeches and performances rounded out the rally.

The three organizers said they'd like to see the event become an annual one. A few days after the cookie store incident, they were discussing it on a front porch and developed the idea.

Bakery owner David Stockton last month declined the order for rainbow-iced cookies during a call to the store by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis staff member Heather Browning. Stockton said he told the woman he was not comfortable supporting such an event because of his moral and religious beliefs.

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