Libertarians in Washington Banned From Gay Pride Event Due to Question Asked About Open Carry

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Posted at The Blaze

‘Banned From Pride For Being a Gay Libertarian’: Right to Marry Clashes With Right to Carry at Gay Pride Event

Jun. 23, 2015 4:09pm

The right to marry clashed with the right to carry over the weekend in Olympia, Washington, when members of the state’s Libertarian Party were barred from a gay pride event because of their support for the Second Amendment.

Last weekend marked the 25th anniversary of the Capital City Pride festival in the Evergreen State, and the Libertarian Party of Washington planned to attend the festival and man a booth — just like in the years past. However, when an attendee called the event’s organizers to ask if open carry would be allowed throughout the festival, the libertarians suddenly found themselves barred from the festivities.

James Holcomb, a Libertarian Party of Washington member, said in an interview with TheBlaze that the friction between the organizers and the libertarians began when he inquired if open carry would be permitted during the festival. Holcomb said he knew some members regularly carry their firearms and wanted to ensure it would be OK.

James Holcomb, a 29-year-old libertarian, sat outside a Capital City Pride event for five hours over the weekend after the event organizer banned him. (Photo courtesy of James Holcomb)
It wasn’t, and that was that — or so Holcomb thought.

In a voicemail to Holcomb, Capital City Pride chairwoman Anna Schlecht accused the libertarians of attempting to “play games” with her.

“Your booth and your participation is hereby banned from Capital City Pride,” Schlecht said in the voicemail obtained by TheBlaze.

“By the power vested in me, as the chair, you are banned and you will never have a booth as long as I’m involved in Capital City Pride,” she said. “Don’t bother calling back. I’m very frustrated. I know y’all have a political agenda.”
Holcomb told TheBlaze that unbeknownst to LPWA, a local open carry activist group had planned to attend the festival and Schlecht continuously confused the two groups, despite their adamant clarifications that the two organizations were not affiliated whatsoever.

“Our message wasn’t even about guns at all,” he said. “Our message was about the Libertarian Party and how we stood for equal rights since 1972 when we became a political party. For them to ban us for no reason other than their assumptions that we were with an open carry group…”

James Holcomb, a 29-year-old libertarian, stands with a rainbow Gadsden flag. Holcomb adamantly supports both gay rights and gun rights. (Photo courtesy of James Holcomb)
James Holcomb, a 29-year-old libertarian, stands with a rainbow Gadsden flag. Holcomb adamantly supports both gay rights and gun rights and said he was “banned from Pride” for being a gay libertarian. (Photo courtesy of James Holcomb)
Other than the voicemail Holcomb received the day before the festival, allegedly no other members of the LPWA — including those who registered for the booth — were informed that the entire party was no longer welcome at the inclusive event. It wasn’t until a LPWA booth organizer, Edwin Pole, showed up at 8 a.m. on Saturday that he was told he could no longer attend.

Photo courtesy of James Holcomb

James Holcomb, a 29-year-old libertarian, sat outside a Capital City Pride event for five hours over the weekend after the event organizer banned him. (Photo courtesy of James Holcomb)

 

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22 thoughts on “Libertarians in Washington Banned From Gay Pride Event Due to Question Asked About Open Carry

  1. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    It’s like I said in a previous post — about how the Antiwar Left mostly tried to ban libertarians and paleocons from “their” antiwar rallies. The Left was less interested in stopping wars, than in “owning” the antiwar issue, and using it to recruit people for their entire socialist agenda.

    It’s the same with gay rights. The Left wants to “own” the gay rights issue. They’d rather a smaller gay rights movement, than a larger movement that includes libertarians.

  2. Andy

    These are the same kind of big government loving gays who think that it is OK to force bakers to bake them wedding cakes against their will.

  3. paulie

    It’s like I said in a previous post — about how the Antiwar Left mostly tried to ban libertarians and paleocons from “their” antiwar rallies. The Left was less interested in stopping wars, than in “owning” the antiwar issue, and using it to recruit people for their entire socialist agenda.

    It’s the same with gay rights. The Left wants to “own” the gay rights issue. They’d rather a smaller gay rights movement, than a larger movement that includes libertarians.

    This is the first time I’ve heard of the LP being kicked out of pride event. We’ve been at hundreds of them, many years, all over the country.

  4. NewFederalist

    Open carry? Open carry of what? Oh, I know… the Confederate Battle Flag!

  5. Humongous Fungus

    independent voter,

    On the front page click on the read more link. Or from the comments just scroll up.

  6. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    For some reason, I had trouble posting this article at home last night. At one point, I deleted most of it and started all over. Maybe I accidentally published it sometime during that process, and he saw it then.

  7. langa

    This is disturbing, but unfortunately, not all that surprising, given the recent trend toward the use of “trigger warnings” and other such PC garbage. Apparently, we’ve now reached the point where the mere mention of guns causes some people to freak out and curl up in a fetal position!

  8. Steve m

    I would send the festival organizers a certified letter stating that merely refunding the prepared both fees doesn’t capture the full costs incurred by lpwa members. That the damages include loss of access to the public as well as costs incurred by individuals who had spent time preparing the booth, booth material and showing up the day event.

  9. Robert Capozzi

    Of course, the right to keep and bear arms is bounded by property rights. On public property, it’s up to the public what can be carried there and the method of carrying seems appropriate as well (open or concealed).

    Recall that MNR taught us there’s no “right” to shout fire in a theater, either, unless the theater owner is OK with a visitor doing so.

    Now, if open carry is legal in WA, then this becomes a question of rights of association, I’d think. If the Capital City Pride organizers don’t wish to associate with legal, open-carry toters, that too seems to be their right. Depending on one’s perspective, it may well not be cool, though.

    And it may be a organizational and procedural question: Does Schlecht have the unilateral power to make such a decision to ban toters from the event?

  10. paulie

    She confused the LP with the open carry group. The LP did ask a question about open carry, because some LP members like to do that and wanted to know what the policy was, but the LP’s participation in the entire event was not contigent on the answer being yes. There was another group, not the LP which wanted to make open carry the point of their planned presence. Kicking out the LP’s entire presence just for asking a question, and partially due to a completely separate group that had nothing to do with the LP, was illogical and petty, even if it fell under free association. Calling attention to this abusive, albeit voluntary, behavior is also a form of free association, as in calling out organizations for behaving in discriminatory, arbitrary, and dictatorial fashion.

  11. Robert Capozzi

    PF: Kicking out the LP’s entire presence just for asking a question, and partially due to a completely separate group that had nothing to do with the LP, was illogical and petty, even if it fell under free association. Calling attention to this abusive, albeit voluntary, behavior is also a form of free association, as in calling out organizations for behaving in discriminatory, arbitrary, and dictatorial fashion.

    ME: Agreed.

    There’s a case that there should be another event that is pro-marriage-equality that is public carry friendly.

  12. Andy

    Events such as this are generally held on public property. Also, the courts have ruled that you can’t deny 1st amendment rights at street festivals and parades that are held on public property, and you can’t charge admission either.

  13. Robert Capozzi

    A, thanks. Based on these sketchy facts you provide, I would think that someone could walk around at this festival advocated whatever he or she wants, including public-property open-carry toting.

    Have “the courts” said that the organizers have the power to ban official participants, as is the case here?

  14. Robert Capozzi

    Maybe some street theater is indicated here: At the event, have a same-gender couple get married with machine-guns strapped to their backs! 😉 The minister, too!

  15. langa

    Kicking out the LP’s entire presence just for asking a question, and partially due to a completely separate group that had nothing to do with the LP, was illogical and petty, even if it fell under free association.

    Exactly. I wouldn’t really have a problem if the event’s organizers had politely (or even firmly) requested that people not bring guns. It is the idea that merely bringing up the subject of guns constitutes some “supreme insensitivity” (to use Schlecht’s words) that I find so preposterous.

  16. Robert Capozzi

    L, I guess it’s a question of prevailing culture. Is it commonplace to open carry in Olympia WA? If it’s rare, then I can see why it would come across as an odd, insensitive question to ask.

  17. Andy Craig

    I hope LPWA (or whoever the individuals who reserved the booth are) file suit for breach of contract, because that’s pretty plainly what happened. Whatever procedure existed for denying a booth, wasn’t followed. It had been bought and paid for, and the people who bought and paid for it weren’t told they couldn’t have it until they showed up day-off and started getting yelled at.

    It might not be huge damages, possibly even small claims. But at the very least they should get a 100% refund, which I haven’t heard anything about them getting, and I would add on some additional damages for their time and labor, etc.

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