Pride month proclamation rejected in Yakima, fails in Sunnyside

The Sunnyside City Council meeting on May 28.
The Sunnyside City Council meeting on May 28. (Credit: City of Sunnyside YouTube channel)



Community members gathered at the Yakima City Council on Tuesday to express support and disappointment with the Council’s decision to reject a Pride month proclamation. 

The Yakima City Council rejected a Pride month proclamation request during a regular meeting on May 21. It failed five votes to two. 

The Council’s decision has caused controversy among community members. Some of them went to a City Council study meeting to speak out.

Angie Girard, of Yakima, said she was disappointed with the rejection. 

What is happening here is that five of you have personal and religious beliefs that prevent you from being impartial. And being impartial is a fundamental element of your oath of office,” Girard said.

Phil Dindia, with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Yakima, also spoke during public comment.

“Loving everyone, without exception, whether for color, religious difference, social status or handicap, that is the challenge thrown up by Jesus,” Dindia said. 

Dindia said the church is standing for the acceptance of all people “in the human family” and asked the Council to recognize Pride month.

Others, like Mike Warren, agreed with the Council’s decision. 

“I just want to thank the Council for voting against the homosexual agenda, to use the city as a platform to affirm their own personal sexual preferences that need to stay within their own confines of their own homes,” Warren said.

Frieda Stephens also agreed with the Council. 

“We don’t need a Pride proclamation, which contradicts the fundamental freedom of thought and speech and religion. This would be unacceptable to our citizens of Yakima, which is a community of loving, accepting, sharing people,” Stephens said.

Stephens said love and acceptance are core values of Yakima’s community, and government interference must be minimized in people’s personal lives.

During the meeting, Girard recalled the arguments made by City Councilor Matt Brown to vote against the proclamation.

In a press release, Brown had said he believes the government functions best when it prioritizes its primary responsibilities: public safety, infrastructure, roads and residents’ overall quality of life.

The City Council had previously approved the Pride proclamation, including in 2023, when it was supported by five votes to two.

Yakima is not the only city rejecting a Pride proclamation. 

In Sunnyside, the Pride proclamation request failed during the City Council meeting on May 28. After discussing the request, council members were tied in a 3-3 vote.   

During the meeting, Mayor Dean Broersma said the proclamation is one of the difficult decisions a council must make, given the variety of opinions on the subject. 

Deputy Mayor Jorge Galvan commented he doesn’t agree with the pride flag being flown next to the American flag. Still, he voted in favor of the proclamation.

City Councilors Vicki Ripley, Keren Vazquez and Broersma voted against the proclamation. However, City Councilors Vicky Frausto, Julia Hart and Galvan voted in favor. City Councilor Martin Beeler was excused from the meeting.

Frausto said her vote followed her commitment to represent all the members of the community with fairness.