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Having Faith in Pride Festival Month in Missouri

June 17, 2011

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – June is Pride Festival month in Missouri, and a common theme among events this year is a stronger presence from the faith community. The efforts in Missouri represent a national movement of openly showing support for those in the GLBT community and a willingness to understand the struggles they face.

The Rev. Rebecca Turner, executive director of Faith Aloud, says the message at multiple festivals is one of equality.

"When most of us look at our own faith teachings, we know that those teachings are about love and showing love to all people, and that there shouldn't be any kind of discrimination."

Pride Festivals generally attract a small number of protesters, but Turner says this aspect is most often overshadowed by the number of faith-based groups in attendance.

"Every Pride Fest does attract protesters who claim to be religious. But the message they're spreading is one of hate, and we don't find that to be consistent with anyone's religious teachings."

In Missouri, upcoming Pride Festivals include this weekend's (June 18-19) in East St. Louis, and next weekend (June 25-26) in St. Louis. Committee members for events held earlier this month in Kansas City and Columbia reported record-breaking attendance.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO