This is an archived article that was published on in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

On July 24 Utahns celebrate our state's pioneer heritage and the wonderful communities that have flourished in its path. As a member of the Salt Lake City Council, I was invited to participate in the Days of '47 Parade and to bring "one adult guest." I invited my friend, Weston Clark.

Weston is a modern-day pioneer as a stay-at-home father of two young children, active advocate for social justice, and, with his husband, one of the first same-sex couples to marry when Amendment 3 was struck down in December.

Last week, following submission of parade bios and the notification that I had selected Weston to accompany me, the entire Council was notified that only our "immediate family" would be allowed to join us.

I will not participate in the 2014 Days of '47 Parade. It saddens me that the organizers of this parade turn their back on a long tradition of Salt Lake City providing sanctuary and refuge.

My vision for Salt Lake City is a place where the refugees of the modern world can find a home — much as the Mormon refugees did in 1847. This includes our friends, family, and neighbors in the LGBTQ community.

Erin Mendenhall

Salt Lake City Council, District 5