A Texas church that opposes same-sex marriage gave thousands of dollars to the Austin school district to use its Performance Arts Center. After protests by LGBTQ activists, the district has turned over the revenue to support gay rights causes, reports the Austin Statesman.
The district is donating $10,000 of rental fees collected from Celebration Church to aid their participation in the annual Austin Pride Parade.
“Our core value is supporting all students, making sure all our students have a welcoming environment. We do have a core value of equity, diversity and inclusion in this district,” Austin district’s chief of staff Jacob Reach said.
“We felt our inclusion of Pride week was a good choice. Every year, the organizers of that event have struggled to find donations, money and support to be able to include AISD students and teachers in this event. So we were able to set aside for them so they don’t have go out and try to raise the money.”
Although the church claims to welcome everyone, they nevertheless promoted regressive ideas about gender and sexuality, including the definition of marriage as "a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman” and that the church “does not endorse or condone” sexual intimacy outside of marriage.
To further signal their commitment to gay rights, the district flew the rainbow Pride flag at its office.
A protestor interviewed by the Austin Statesman said the districts actions were a good start, but they needed to do more.
"Relative to the revenue they have collected from the Celebration Church and also relative to deal with the problem of homophobia and transphobia in AISD and in general, $10,000 is not really a lot,” Anna Nguyen said.