In a state that is most famous recently for Todd Akin’s rape comments and for putting a bust of Rush Limbaugh in the state capital, St. Louis, MO has a small progressive glimmer of hope. Pride St. Louis, Inc., a very large LGBT group, announced yesterday that due to the growth of their annual Pride Fest event they will be moving to downtown St. Louis from the smaller Tower Grove Park location where they celebrated for years. According to Pride St. Louis’ website, more than 100,000 people attended 2012’s Pride Fest.
The event, occurring June 29th-30th, attracts visitors from around the area, and according to Pride St. Louis, around the world. The move to downtown St. Louis should increase exposure for Pride Fest beyond the smaller and less notable south St. Louis city location of Tower Grove Park.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said he is happy to welcome the event to downtown.
“I am very pleased to welcome Pride St. Louis and our parade to the city’s best parade route,” Slay said. “I also predict the biggest party Downtown has seen in decades.”
The consistent growth of Pride St. Louis and Pride Fest is a positive sign in a state that added a constitutional ban on same sex marriage in 2004. The city of St. Louis already stood out from the rest of the state by earning a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipality Equality Index.
Despite having Democrats in the executive branch of the state government, the state of Missouri has been making a name for itself over the last several years for moving strongly to the right wing, having one of the most conservative state legislatures in the nation. Hopefully the city of St. Louis can continue to be a model for LGBT issues in the state.