Fetterman Brings Partisan Message to Pottsville PrideFest
Pennsylvania Lieutenant Gov. John Fetterman brought a divisive, partisan message to the second annual Pottsville PrideFest on Saturday afternoon.
While PrideFest is supposed to be an inclusive event, created to celebrate the LGBTQ community in the city and Schuylkill County, Fetterman chose to throw shade on Republicans, mostly in Harrisburg, during a brief 4-minute speech to the several hundred people attending.
His entire 4-minute speech was just a campaign stump speech. He, of course, is running for US Senate in 2022 and he was followed up later during the day by another Senate candidate, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, an openly gay member of the General Assembly in Harrisburg.
Schuylkill County you know how to make a guy feel right at home. So glad to be back for Pottsville PrideFest with old and new friends. This is what community looks like. pic.twitter.com/CQwOILAkKc
— Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (@malcolmkenyatta) July 17, 2021
Even though he said, “It’s not so much about my campaign today, it’s about you all here,” it was really just about himself.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Visits Pottsville PrideFest 2021
Fetterman, wearing a rainbow hat with a rainbow Pride flag and faux Hawai’ian lei around his neck and sometimes sucking on a lollipop, started by identifying Schuylkill County as a “red county” and said of another county’s first Pride festival, “A thousand people came out to one of the reddest counties for their first Pride event ever. Things are changing in Pennsylvania.”
He then complained about Republicans holding up passage of the Pennsylvania Fairness Act. Fetterman repeated a talking point we found in several previous media reports on this issue.
He, along with Gov. Tom Wolf, say they’re embarrassed that Pennsylvania is the “only state in the Northeast” that doesn’t have legislation that addresses discrimination against a person’s “sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression” for “housing, employment, education, and public accommodations,” according to an WHYY report from June.
“There is not a day that goes by that I am not ashamed of our Commonwealth for not extending the basic, fundamental protection under the law to the gay and trans communities that everyone deserves,” Fetterman said Saturday. “The governor and I have been pushing for it as long as we’ve been in office.”
To that, according to the WHYY report, Republicans say they find it interesting that the Wolf administration wants the GOP to work with them but they, themselves, have failed to do that over the last year with Republican-backed legislation.
“We need the Republicans to just step back and say ‘We are all equal under the eyes of the law’ and just let everyone have what everyone deserves,” Fetterman added.
The Lieutenant Governor also made sure the audience knew he supported their cause by trying to prove how woke he was before being woke was even a thing.
Fetterman told the audience in Pottsville that during 2013 that he was the only public official performing gay marriages in Pennsylvania. He then went back to the previous administration to further paint Republicans in Pennsylvania as the boogeyman.
“Tom Corbett threatened to have me arrested,” he said. “I said, ‘If you want to send the Gay Police to have me arrested, you know where I am’.
“It’s always about being on the right side of history and I’ve never been afraid of the consequences of doing or saying the right things,” Fetterman continued.
Gay marriage became legal in Pennsylvania in May 2014, so technically, at the time he claims to have been performing gay wedding ceremonies, Fetterman was violating Commonwealth law.
And someone should remind Fetterman that being anti-gay marriage isn’t just a “red” thing. Remember when this Democrat said he opposed gay marriage?
This was only 10 years ago …
In fact, it was only after Joe Biden said he did support gay marriage that Barack Obama said he’d gone through an “evolution on this issue” and came out in support of same-sex marriages in 2012 but at that time, politicians agreed it should be a state issue, not a federal one.
Flying the Pride Flag
Fetterman also bragged about his flying the Pride flag off the balcony of his office at the Capitol building in Harrisburg. He’s also flown a flag featuring a marijuana leaf and each has drawn the ire of Republicans and others who don’t want our majestic building there looking like a freshman’s dorm room.
“It was my hope that promoting this would move us closer,” he said. “The legislature, six months ago, had the opportunity to include language that would have granted full equality to members of the gay and trans communities here in Pennsylvania and they voted against it unanimously.
“But you know what law they did pass was banning me from flying flags on my balcony. They literally passed a law banning me from flying my flags on the balcony,” he said.
It should be noted that Gov. Tom Wolf signed that law because it was part of a budget bill which restricted flags that could be flown at the Capitol. And could you imagine the fit Democrats in Harrisburg would have caused if a Republican member of the General Assembly flew a Trump 2020 flag off their balcony?
We just found it rather ironic that at an event promoting inclusion, Fetterman would bring a message of partisanship and division. He, after all, claims to have met several Republicans during his short time at Pottsville PrideFest.
Of course, he’s a politician and that’s what they’re best at doing … say they’re trying to promote unity but instead, spread division.
Pottsville PrideFest 2021
This is the second year for Pottsville PrideFest, an event held for the first time in 2020 despite some dampening restrictions caused by the COVID pandemic.
This year’s event was definitely better attended with hundreds filling the Pottsville Lions Club Amphitheater at Gen. George Joulwan Park on the city’s East Side.
Many attendees this year sought cover and shade under the trees around the amphitheater bowl due to sizzling, swampy heat and some occasional rain.
Photos: Coal Region Canary