The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
A Giles County couple says their first amendment rights have been trampled by County Executive Graham Stowe.
Stowe rescinded permission for local husband and wife, and Christian business owners Jason and Tonya Guthrie, to use the gazebo, courthouse grounds, and surrounding lawn in Pulaski, Tennessee, on the same day as a scheduled Pride Parade.
The parade on June 3rd is organized by an LGBTQ organization known as the Giles County Inclusivity Coalition (GCIC) who has a history of sponsoring events that include activities not appropriate for minors.
GCIC applied for a permit from the City of Pulaski to use the streets surrounding the gazebo and courthouse grounds but did not request permission to use those areas specifically. Approval for the gazebo and courthouse area are granted separately, by the county.
Following the reservation of the gazebo and surrounding area by Tonya Guthrie, GCIC asked Stowe during a committee meeting for the name of the individual to whom it was reserved. When Stowe refused to disclose that information, GCIC filed a public records request and learned that permission had been given to Tonya.
Jason Guthrie believes that his efforts to make local Agri-Park events appropriate for minors is the reason behind GCIC pressuring Stowe to take back permission of the Guthrie’s use of county property during the parade. New rules for the Agri-Park now limit where GCIC can host events. Guthrie says the group has organized events there before that included drinking, and adults “dancing in their underwear.”
Guthrie had planned to have a time of prayer in the gazebo and play gospel music during the parade which he says has been inappropriate for children in past years.
Stowe cited “personal safety” as one of the reasons in a letter to the Guthries for rescinding their permit and said that law enforcement would occupy the gazebo and courthouse grounds to observe the parade on June 3rd.
Guthrie is considering his legal options in order to have his rights to use the gazebo restored during the parade.
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org.