“blatant perversion”

Florida GOP Rep. wants a law banning elected officials from attending Pride

Mayor Donna Deegan at River City Pride
Mayor Donna Deegan (center) at River City Pride (Photo: Facebook)

A Florida state Rep. has thrown a hissy fit after the mayor of Jacksonville attended the River City Pride Parade. He’s now told a local news outlet he would like to see legislation banning elected officials from attending Pride marches.

Mayor Donna Deegan (a Democrat) took on a Grand Marshall role at the city’s Pride parade. The event happened on Sunday (October 8).

Deegan re-shared some photos of herself riding around in an open-top car at the parade, and said, “Happy Pride y’all”.

State Rep. Dean Black, who is also the Duval GOP Chairman, was disgusted. He said condoms were thrown out during the family-friendly event. He blasted Deegan over her participation. 

“We are disturbed and disgusted to see the Mayor’s participation as the Grand Marshal at an alleged ‘family-friendly’ event where sex toys were displayed and condoms were handed out to children,” Black said Monday, according to Florida Politics.  

“At best, it is beneath the dignity of the office of Mayor to attend events that seek to push sex on our children. At worst, it is morally repugnant for *any* person, let alone the Mayor, to be endorsing or supporting such behavior.”

“We call on our elected representatives to take further steps to prevent this from happening again. It should not take legislation to enforce this commonsense principle: stop sexualizing our children.”

“Further, we call on Mayor Deegan to condemn and disavow this conduct, as well as give assurances that she will not continue to use her office to embarrass our city and disrespect parents.”

“She did not see any of the items alleged”

A spokesperson for Mayor Deegan issued the following statement in response.

“Mayor Deegan attended the River City Pride Parade to show her support for our LGBTQ+ community and commitment to diversity and inclusion. During her participation, she did not see any of the items that were alleged to have been present. What she did witness is people and families coming together to celebrate the beautiful mosaic that is Jacksonville.”

River City Pride issued a statement thanking Deegan for her involvement.

“It was our most incredible honor to have you, Mayor Deegan be our 2023 Grand Marshal. Your love and compassion for all citizens of Jacksonville, no matter who they are or who they love is the greatest love a mayor can give and we as an LGBTQ+ community feel your love! ❤️ Thank you for being a strong ally!”

The Duval County Republican Party appeared unsatisfied with the Mayor’s official response.

“Mayor Deegan’s claim that she ‘did not see’ it is a sad attempt to excuse the blatant perversion of this event, and her refusal to denounce it in the face of proof is a stain on the Mayor’s Office,” it said on X.

Given that Republicans have a large majority in the Florida House, and they’ve passed some pretty vile anti-LGBTQ legislation in the last couple of years, we wouldn’t rule out a lawmaker attempting to pass such a law. That said, forbidding any adults from attending specific public events would mark a new low, even for Florida Republicans. 

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