Support OBX Pridefest and Gay Friendly Dare County, NC
Read More: OBX Pridefest
As noted before, the organizers of OBX Pridefest have been concerned over the consequences of the Amendment One Vote on this year’s Pridefest event. Initial reports of voting results incorrectly put Dare County in the column of bigoted counties that had voted for passage of the hideously anti-gay Amendment One. Final tallies, however, showed that Dare County – the only county not home to a major city or university – had in fact voted against Amendment One. The organizers of Pridefest hope the word will get out that their portion of the Outer Banks is gay friendly and that supporters will come down and support their event. As I have noted before, the Boyfriend and I attended last year’s inaugural event and had a wonderful time. And, yes, we will be attending again this year. Information on OBX Pridefest can be found HERE. An article in the Virginian Pilot looks at the Dare County vote and the hopes and efforts of the Pridefest Organizers. Here are article excerpts:
The first thing David Miller did when he heard that Dare County had voted down Amendment 1 opposing gay marriage was head to Facebook.
“There is no reason to boycott Dare County, North Carolina!” wrote Miller, who co-founded the nonprofit entity that organizes the gay-pride event OBX Pridefest. “We are the progressive, free-thinkers in this part of the state.”
Miller had particular reason to be worried about the publicity over Amendment 1, which changed the state’s constitution to define marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman. After it passed overwhelmingly, receiving 61 percent of 2.1 million votes in North Carolina, Miller heard from visitors saying they were no longer coming to his June event, to show opposition to the voting results. “There was a very emotional, knee-jerk reaction from a lot of folks up North,” he said.
Miller said he now thinks the publicity could help the 2-year-old OBX Pridefest, with more visitors venturing to the Outer Banks to show solidarity with the gay community. He’s expecting 2,000 people to attend, up from 1,500 last year, partly because of the attention the amendment has attracted. The event will be held June 15-18.
Beth Storie was proud of her county’s vote, but not necessarily surprised by it. In the 35 years she’s lived here, she said she’s noticed an acceptance in Dare that doesn’t exist in neighboring counties.
Storie, who is not gay, planted a sign reading “Vote Against Amendment 1″ in the yard of her Manteo home. A neighbor down the street had one, too. She thought it would encourage a dialogue with those holding a different view, but she’s gotten more messages of support than contradiction.
“Even if they don’t agree with it, they still practice tolerance” of gay people, she said. An active arts community has helped attract people with more variety in points of view, she added.
I sincerely hope that readers within reasonable distance of the Outer Banks will consider visiting OBX Pridefest. I hope to see you there.
Michael Hamar is an out gay attorney in a committed relationship; formerly married and father of three wonderful children; sometime activist and political/news junkie; survived coming out in mid-life and hope to share my experiences and reflections with others. Follow him at Michael In Norfolk.
OBX Pridefest gains tax-exempt status and pairs with Brandon’s Beacon of Hope for their second annual festival.May 30, 2012
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