Don Grundmann urged the city council to grant a permit for the event while defending the so-called “National Straight Pride Coalition”, which is leading efforts to host a parade at the Graceada Park in Modesto this month.
He and other supporters of the parade were met with a more sizeable crowd of opponents, who said the event was discriminatory and that fliers promoting it used language often espoused by white supremacists.
“We haven’t done anything [wrong],” Mr Grundmann, who has launched multiple failed campaigns for local office, said before adding: “We’re a peaceful, racist group.”
The crowd immediately erupted, applauding and laughing at the apparent admission. Councillors also responded to the gaffe.
Councilwoman Kristi Ah dropped her pen, rested her head in her hand and leaned back into her chair, visibly laughing.
Mr Grundmann attempted to walk back the statement but was drowned out by demonstrators.
LGBT+ activists and others spoke out at the meeting, including the openly gay son of one of the event’s organisers, who said his mother taught him as a child to believe that “Western civilisation that was built by European males that came here to establish the greatest nation on earth”.
The event’s fliers said it was being held to celebrate everything from “babies — born and unborn” to “western civilisation”.
Mr Grundmann told Ms Ah she was “pulling the race card” at one point and said his group was simply trying to “celebrate life”.
He also referred to opponents of the parade as “racist clowns” while pointing towards members of the audience who rebuked his statements at the meeting.
The city council will decide within the coming days whether or not to provide Mr Grundmann’s group with permits to hold its parade later this month.
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