Members of the Horry County Council on June 7 (Image: Horry County Council website)
A South Carolina county council rescinded a Pride Month proclamation it apparently voted through by accident.
Horry County Council approved a slate of items without discussion in a May session, including a resolution that proclaimed June as Pride Month in the county.
“The month of June historically has been designated as Pride Month, which celebrates everyone’s right to live without fear or prejudice, discrimination, violence or hatred based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” the resolution outlined.
None of the council members representing the notoriously conservative county had even read the agenda, and passed the slate unanimously.
“Councilmen got many emails expressing dismay that council would vote for an LGBTQIA month in such a conservative county,” councillor Johnny Vaught told CNN.
As a result, the board raised the resolution at the next available opportunity, rescinding it by unanimous vote on 7 June.
Vaught told CNN that because the resolution “just said Pride Month”, the board didn’t even realise that it was in solidarity with LGBTQ+ people.
The proclamation was first put on the agenda after the group Grand Strand Pride emailed the county clerk calling for June to be recognised as Pride Month, and included a draft resolution.
Co-founder Terry Livingston told The Washington Post that he “really expected them to change the wording a good bit and pass it that way, or possibly not at all.” However, he did not receive a reply before the May 17 meeting.
Having believed the approval of the resolution was done so explicitly, Livingston was “really excited”, having sat in on the May 17 meeting. Grand Strand Pride then posted on social media praising the decision.
After the proclamation was rescinded, the group again posted again.
— Grand Strand PRIDE (@GS_Pride) June 8, 2022
“This news dampens our spirits but we resolve to make progress by continuing our advocacy work to make all of Horry County inclusive, diverse and equal for all,” it wrote on 8 June.
Council member Danny Hardee, who was among those on the board that did not properly read the agenda, said he doesn’t see it as the council’s duty to declare June as Pride Month.
“I personally don’t think that councils should be doing any kind of thing like that,” he told CNN. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s gay months or Confederate months or Juneteenth or whatever; that’s not my job to set aside those dates.”
Livingston has filed several freedom of information (FOI) requests to see whether claims constituents complained are legitmate.
As of Thursday (June 16), no council member has contacted him. His group is planning to rally outside the Horry County council centre on Tuesday (21 June) to protest the cancellation.