KINGSBURG, Calif. (KSEE) – A heated Kingsburg City Council meeting over a proposal to proclaim the month of June as Pride Month become a flashpoint for tension in the community.
But Councilmember Jewel Hurtado’s proposal Wednesday failed to receive a second from her council colleagues, a requirement to put the motion to a vote. The motion also called for the LGBTQ+ flag to be flown at Kingsburg City Hall for the duration of Pride Month.
“This is something I feel will really help a lot of people who do still hide in the shadows or aren’t comfortable to fully come out yet,” said Hurtado. “Hopefully it will make them feel more accepted and loved.”
Hurtado, who identifies as bisexual, said the controversy surrounding the proposal “just sucks.”
The day before the vote, the Fresno County Republican Party sent an email to its members claiming Hurtado was also planning a parade. The email said out-of-town activists were planning to show up to the meeting – and the email encouraged its members to do the same thing.
“It’s really disappointing that happened,” said Hurtado. “Because I wanted to hear whether they agreed or not from Kingsburg residents.”
The California democratic party also chimed in. In a tweet, they said the Fresno County Republican Party is intimidating and they urged Democrats to stand with the LGBTQ+ communities.
The result was hundreds of people descended on Kingsburg City Hall.
“It’s interesting overall to see these small conservative towns making shifts and how the community is reacting,” said Kingsburg resident James Ramirez.
After more than four hours of public comment, Hurtado made a motion to take a vote but none of the other councilmembers were willing to take it up. That effectively killed the proposal.
“At the end of the day, no matter what happens, my council is going to do what they feel is best and I respect them for that,” said Hurtado. “And I just hope they hear – even if its a few – from the residents who this would mean something.”