Columbia Heights mayor won't sign gay pride proclamation

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The Mayor of Columbia Heights is under fire because she won’t sign off on a new gay pride event in her city.

Monday, members of the LGBTQ community gathered inside city hall to take issue with her refusal to get behind a mayoral proclamation for the upcoming rally.

Many in the LGBTQ community say they’re hurt by the mayor’s actions to not publicly back this new initiative they’ve been working on for a few months now.

The city’s first gay pride festival will take place Saturday.

Members of the Columbia Heights Pride Organization and other partners say they reached out to the city’s mayor a few weeks ago to inquire about the process of having her sign a proclamation to officially recognize Saturday as an LGBTQ Awareness Day in Columbia Heights.

They say their emails and phone calls went unanswered until last week when they finally met with Donna Schmitt.

Schmitt apparently told them they had not followed the guidelines when it comes to proclamations and therefore she was unable to sign anything.

Members of Columbia Heights Pride say the process was never clear and they wanted the mayor’s input on how to submit a proclamation.

Monday, people came out to voice their opinions on what they say is discriminatory behavior by the mayor.

“By crafting a policy that denies this proclamation request, the city of Columbia Heights is actively discriminating against the LGBTQIA+ community,” said Frost Simula, of Heights Next Organization.

“Nowhere does it state or has been implied that I’m against individuals in the LGBTQ community,” said Mayor Donna Schmitt. “We have denied three other proclamations in the last couple of months.”

The festival will go on as planned Saturday. It is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at Sullivan Lake Park in Columbia Heights.