WESTMINSTER (CBS/AP) — The Westminster City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to grant a private group a permit to hold a Vietnamese New Year’s parade despite the exclusion of the gay and lesbian community.
The council granted the permit on the condition that leaders from both sides of the issue sit down with the mayor and a city council member to work out compromises.
Earlier Wednesday, dozens of supporters of the LGBT community pleaded with the council to allow them to participate in the Feb. 2 Tet Festival or deny the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California, the event’s organizer, a permit.
Hieu Nguyen, the founder of the Viet Rainbow of Orange County, said the issue initially came to light after the Vietnamese American Federation of SoCal did not allow LGBT members to march in last February’s event.
“We can have a debate about whether this is a private or public event, but I believe it’s a community event,” he said.
Neil Nguyen, the president of the Vietnamese American Federation of SoCal, says he wants the LGBT community to march, but convincing older members who sponsor the $63,000 event is another story.
“Looking at the bigger picture, how many participants would pull out? The LGBT is a younger group and on the other side is the older group. And there’s going to be a division between generations and I don’t want that,” he said.
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