Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will miss the gay Pride parade this year for the first time since he took office.
Adam McGough, a spokesman for the mayor, said Rawlings will be in New York City this weekend at a conference of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research. Rawlings will also be visiting West Point, N.Y., as part of an initiative to bring a football game to Dallas.
McGough said Rawlings’ absence has nothing to do with the controversy involving a marriage equality resolution at City Council in June — which led some in the LGBT community to call for the mayor and certain other council members to be uninvited from the Pride parade.
“He is disappointed to miss it,” McGough said. “This has nothing to do with the controversy. This is just scheduling.”
Rawlings is only the third Dallas mayor to appear in the gay Pride parade, after Laura Miller and Tom Leppert.
Michael Doughman, executive director of the Dallas Tavern Guild, said this week that only eight of 15 city council members had RSVP’d to ride on the Tavern Guild’s float in this year’s parade — which marks the 30th anniversary of the event.
That number is lower than in recent years, but Patti Fink, president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, said she isn’t alarmed.
Fink noted that several council members were newly elected in June, and the community hasn’t had a chance to build relationships with them. She also said she doesn’t put a lot of stock in RSVPs.
“We have to wait until Pride to see who’s on the float, because that’s really going to be where the proof is,” she said.
Doughman said council members who’ve RSVP’d are Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano, Rick Callahan, Monica Alonzo, Carolyn Davis, Tennell Atkins, Sheffie Kadane and Philip Kingston.
Only one sitting council member, Vonciel Hill, has publicly refused to appear in the parade because she is anti-LGBT.