WAUSAU, Wis. — Wausau's first gay pride parade has been cancelled, because its organizer says participants became worried about their safety after ugly comments in the media and by a City Council member.
"I do feel a great sense of loss for the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community," Daxx Bouvier told Daily Herald Media. "Canceling the parade has set Wausau back 30 years in the way people think about the gay community."
The parade was supposed to take place Saturday afternoon.
City Council member Dave Nutting said at meeting earlier this month that people should boycott the parade or, if they went, turn their backs on "deviant-behaving individuals."
City officials said Friday that they were concerned because Bouvier had not provided proof of insurance, and they told WAOW-TV that he still owed the city money. Bouvier told the newspaper that he had insurance but hadn't given the city a copy of the policy because he didn't want to have it rewritten if they thought he needed a bigger one.
Bouvier, who lives in California but owns a home in Wausau, said he has no further plans to organize gay pride events in the city, but he hopes he has paved the way for others.
The March for Equality, a similar but unrelated gay pride event, will still take place at 3 p.m. Saturday. Organizer Shannon Thomas, who owns the event-planning business One Girl Creative, said more than 300 people are expected to participate. She said she didn't expect the parade cancellation to affect that.
"No matter what event it was, the message always is to promote equal rights for all people in our community," she said.