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Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, among Illinois governor candidates, refusing to join in Pride parade

By Maher Kawash

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    AURORA, Illinois (WLS) — Pride Month is getting off to a rocky start in west suburban Aurora.

Mayor Richard Irvin, who is also running for Illinois governor, is distancing himself from the city’s Pride parade over a police uniform dispute.

This dispute continues to start Pride Month on June 1: Aurora Mayor and Republican candidate for governor Irvin will not be in that parade on June 12, and is even pulling Aurora’s float from the event.

All of this comes as parade organizers forbid officers from marching in their uniforms, saying some members of the LGBTQ+ community have been harassed by police, even if it wasn’t necessarily by Aurora police. They said having uniformed officers could make those people anxious.

Irvin issued a statement late Tuesday, saying in part “The impacted officers and the command staff of the Aurora Police Department are not in agreement with this, and I stand with our officers.”

The Aurora Pride organization also will not take part in the Pride flag-raising ceremony held by city officials.

The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, also chimed in on the dispute, saying it is concerned by reports that government officials have apparently attempted to pressure the organization, Aurora Pride, to alter the composition of this year’s Pride parade.

They went on to say it’s in the organization’s First Amendment rights to protect the message of its parade, which includes the composition and appearance of marchers.

Irvin said it’s a basic principle of community policing to have the city’s officers in uniform for an event like that.

Aurora Pride organizers said they’re disappointed law enforcement and city officials will not be in attendance.

They offered the idea of having officers march in polos, which represent the department, but Irvin said a soft uniform like that is not acceptable.

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