Lafayette Council Members Sign Pride Month Proclamation
The majority of the Lafayette City Council is recognizing June as Pride Month in Lafayette.
Councilmembers Glenn Lazard and Pat Lewis put the resolution on the agenda. Councilmembers Nanette Cook and Liz Webb Hebert joined Lazard and Lewis in signing the proclamation. Councilman Andy Naquin was the only council member not to sign the proclamation. Naquin left the council chambers while a council clerk read the proclamation during the meeting. He later told newspaper reporters in attendance that he walked out because of a coughing fit.
Earlier in the meeting, Naquin attempted to quash the proclamation by arguing that council members violated a procedural error. Naquin said the item should have been put on the agenda as a resolution and brought for a full vote. Naquin also said the proclamation puts the weight of the city-parish government behind the proclamation. Lazard and Lewis argued that city council members had previously honored other people and groups via ceremonial presentation without any objections in the past, including seven times in 2021 alone. Lazard further argued that he never said that the resolution voiced the opinion not of the full council or of Lafayette Consolidated Government, but of the council members who signed onto the proclamation.
Lewis said he didn't understand why the council and the mayor-president's office could pass proclamations supporting a flag or other issues but not taxpayers who live in the city and parish.
"If any one of us council members want to acknowledge someone, why can we not?" Lewis asked his fellow council members. "Why does someone else have to acknowledge them. We acknowledged (city marshal) Reginald Thomas, and we took pictures with him! No one complained. Why are we spending special attention on this? Today I read the pledge of allegiance, and I read it quite often. At the end, what do I say? 'With liberty and justice for all.' That's what we read. We celebrated Flag Day Monday. All the flag does is occupy space, and we want to acknowledge someone who's a taxpayer and is a human being . . . that takes a breath every day, but we can acknowledge a flag."
Supporters of the Pride Month effort broke into applause and cheers after the clerk finished reading the proclamation. It fulfilled a years-long goal of the local LGBTQ+ community to have Lafayette Consolidated Government recognize Pride Month. In 2019, the previous consolidated city-parish council voted 4-3 in favor of a Pride Month resolution, but the item failed because it lacked a majority vote from the full council (a fifth "yes" vote was needed for the item to pass). Two weeks ago, members of the LGBTQ+ community filled the council chambers during the Lafayette Parish Council meeting to ask--and in some cases, demand--Mayor-President Josh Guillory to proclaim June as Pride Month in the city and parish. Guillory demurred, saying he and LCG should not do anything that's "needlessly provocative." Guillory also said he has always defended the rights of LGTBQ+ people and would continue to do so with or without a proclamation.