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Atlanta Pride and Presbyterians

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Khalil_PrideAtlanta’s annual gay pride parade may not be the first event that comes to mind when you think of a place of worship but Decatur’s Oakhurst Presbyterian Church is working to change that. As church members marched down Peachtree Street last Sunday, waving rainbow flags and wielding “Love Wins” signs, the 15- person coalition was cheered on by ATLiens observing from the sidelines. In recent years, the church has been a lot more progressive than others in the bible belt. In conjunction with other Presbyterian churches, including Decatur’s Columbia Presbyterian  Church, North Decatur Presbyterian and Central Presbyterian Church, Oakhurst waved the banner for gay rights. Having members of the LGBT community in their congregation, all of these churches have made their stance on equal treatment of all people clear.

However, in a very M. Night Shyamalan-ian twist, one of the parade’s main protest groups also consisted of worshippers from another church in Georgia, but they traded in “Equal Rights,” “#legal,” “You May Now Kiss The Groom” signs for banners demanding parade-goers to repent. So, along with showing support for the LGBT community, Oakhurst helped to deter hate groups from casting a dark shadow over the parade.  And what better way to brighten up the day than with flowers (seriously who doesn’t like flowers?)!? Supporters hoisted large colorful cardboard flowers high above the protesters and their signs to block them from view during the parade.

The parade’s floats were off the charts spectacular, including shirtless firefighters riding atop an actual fire truck and a wedding cake float complete with couples of the same gender who could kiss in tuxedos for the first time ever.

No matter how obdurate, dogmatic, or down right vicious the hate groups became, they were muted by the sheer amount of love and equality spread at the parade. In 2015’s more accepting world, groups like Oakhurst Presbyterian Church are working hard to keep it that way.

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