Despite initial opposition, Cedar Falls mayor signs June Pride Month proclamation
June will be LGBTQ Pride Month in Cedar Falls. But that’s only after public uproar over the mayor announcing his opposition to a city proclamation.
The mayor of Cedar Falls has never written in support or opposition of a city proclamation. But when it came to proclaiming June LGBTQ Pride Month for the city, he said his beliefs led him to oppose it.
“There are 40,000 people in this town. There are at least hundreds of people who don’t understand," he told a crowded city council chamber. "And I’m one of those.”
Mayor Rob Green wrote in a memo to council that he opposes same-sex marriage. And consequently, opposed the proclamation.
An otherwise humdrum proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month in Cedar Falls, Iowa, has turned contentious, after Mayor Rob Green (not seeking reelection) said he would not sign it, citing "my Christian beliefs" in a memo.— Amie Rivers (@amierrivers) May 1, 2023
Council meeting is tonight at 7 p.m. pic.twitter.com/y4kXSAf4qR
However, he reversed course after an hour and a half of public comment and what he called "many, many" emails. Out of the crowd of over 30 speakers, only one opposed the proclamation.
Green said that he learned about the hostility and repression faced by members of the LGBTQ community. And particular, he became concerned about how his memo could be used to justify violence against the community.
"They could very easily say, 'Oh, well, Mayor Green has these views as well. I'm going to go much further.' And gosh, you saw that all the time in Republican circles or in the folks that were like extreme right taking political statements and really running with them in a direction they might not have been originally intended," Green told IPR News. "So I certainly wouldn't want it to be a cause of that."
While he flipped on signing the proclamation, Green maintained that his views on same-sex marriage had not changed.
Nate Gruber was in the room when the mayor changed his mind. But he said it wasn't enough. As a member of the Cedar Falls School Board, he said hearing the mayor’s opposition to the proclamation without an apology to the community was “a slap in the face.”
“I just really saw his refusal to sign or participate in the proclamation leading up to last night as really sending a message of exclusion and intolerance. And not really the kind of leadership the Cedar Falls community needed," he said.
Green has been Cedar Falls' mayor since 2020, and has said he will not seek reelection.