Diana Lee Carey’s passionate speech on human rights, the First Amendment, and the Tet Homophobes.

You just HAVE to hear Westminster Councilwoman Diana Lee Carey tearing it up here.  NO, it’s not about Toll Lanes this time, not fracking, and not jazzercise.  She is explaining, at the last Council meeting, her reluctant and ANGRY vote to allow the homophobic Vietnamese American Foundation of Southern California to put on another gay-excluding Tet Parade this February, because the very broke city still can’t afford to do it like they used to, and the Court ruled in the Federation’s favor last time, on First Amendment grounds.  (Sorry there’s no visuals, the A/V in Westminster was squirrely that evening…and thanks to Jason for capturing the audio at least.)

Yep, that’s the lady we like to call “The OC’s Councilwoman” – you have no idea how much she does for all of us, unless you like and follow her Facebook page (which I run.)

To refresh your memory:  We broke the story here last February of the Viet LGBT Alliance‘s court defeat trying to get into the last Parade;  how Judge Glass was furious and disgusted with the Federation’s sleazy bipartisan Garden Grove legal duo of Mark Rosen and Dina Nguyen for attempting to gross him out with photos of some G-stringed gay men from somewhere else, but ruled in the Federation’s favor anyway because the First Amendment protects their right to discriminate.

There were two schools of thought among the gays and those of us who wanted to stick up for them:  Longtime activists like Chris Prevatt and Jeff LeTourneau organized a boycott, convincing most Democratic politicians to just not show up;  but I had become acquainted with the actual Viet LGBT’s who were being excluded, and THEY didn’t want a boycott – they wanted people to show up and stand with them at the beginning of the parade route, and so a lot of us did

The argument between boycotting and standing in support was played out on our comments section;  most Democratic politicians, except for Tom Daly and Bruce Broadwater, opted to stay out of the Parade.  Disappointingly, NONE of them released any statements about why they didn’t come;  they just stayed home as though they had something better to do.  Loretta’s explanatory e-mail to the Register was particularly, disappointingly, weak.  (And I guess it sadly goes without saying that no Republican politician gave a damn or saw a problem.)

On the other hand, DPOC chairman Henry Vandemeir stood with the gays;  and Jose Solorio  even hopped out of his Soloriomobile to stand with them, and sent the car on without him.  (It’ll be interesting to see what he does THIS time, as he’s gonna need all those Viet votes for his Senate race.)  Diana Lee Carey, the brand-new Westminster Councilwoman who had been meeting a lot with the Viet LGBT Alliance, marched in the parade in Viet garb with a Rainbow flag;  some activists thought that was weak, but THAT’S WHAT THE ALLIANCE ASKED HER TO DO.

There were lots of plans after the last parade to make sure this never happened again, but they all fell through.  Putting a non-discrimination clause into Westminster’s public event permits turned out to be unconstitutional.  Neither the City nor anybody else had the funds to take the Parade over.  Negotiations with the old-school pastors who run the Federation came to nothing as they insist Gaiety is an Abomination they will not countenance.

So here we are again this year, with another anti-gay Tet Parade just over a month away, and what do you think we should do, friends?  Boycott again?  Protest Celebrate with our gay brothers and sisters at the beginning of the route again?  I’m going to push for ONE thing we didn’t get last year:  Strong statements of condemnation from popular politicians like Loretta and Lou Correa who used to NEVER MISS the Parade, but quietly ducked out last time in what looked like a weak effort to offend neither side.

Or maybe some damn Republican will do the right thing and catch up with public opinion.  Travis Allen?  Matt Harper?  Jim Katapodis?  Someone surprise us all!

What else?  I guess I’ll be checking with my old Alliance friends now…

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.