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Marquette City Commission right in Pride endorsement

Metaphorically speaking, a rainbow is shining over Marquette.

The Marquette City Commission on Monday officially declared June Pride Month in the city. Its longer name is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual and Asexual, or LGBTQIA+ Month.

Humans are complicated creatures, as is their sexuality, and it’s good that society is becoming more inclusive.

The proclamation states: “It is imperative that young people in this community, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, feel valued, safe, empowered, and supported by their peers and community leaders.”

A simple proclamation probably isn’t going to make that happen with every member of the community — prejudice, after all, still exists — but it’s a good start.

Commissioner Jenn Hill pointed out the proclamation marked the first time the city has officially recognized Pride Month. She already had been involved, having worked with a nonprofit, the Marquette-based Upper Peninsula Rainbow Pride.

Hill noted at the commission meeting that Marquette has a non-discrimination ordinance that was passed five years ago, but Pride Month hadn’t been officially recognized.

According to the Library of Congress, Pride Month is celebrated each year in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall uprising in Manhattan. Stonewall was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States in which the last Sunday in June initially was celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” although the actual day was flexible.

The day grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Now throughout the country, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, concerts and symposia.

Marissa Jayne Wolfe, founding member of Upper Peninsula Rainbow Pride, said the group is grateful to the commission for passing the proclamation, stressing people need to know Marquette is moving toward becoming a safe community.

The proclamation, she said, also raises visibility of the issue, which isn’t going away anytime soon.

To keep the awareness going, people may attend a U.P. Pride town hall meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 20 in the Shiras Room at Peter White Public Library.

The Sixth Annual Pride Fest is scheduled for Sept. 14 at Tourist Park.

Earlier this year, the Marquette City Commission voted to tentatively opt out of allowing commercial marijuana establishments in the city limits.

It might be dragging its feet on the matter following the passage in November of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, but the commission appears to be more at the forefront with the LGBTQIA+ issue.