Provo and Freedom Festival sign contract with new non-discrimination clause 01

Paul Warner, left, and Mayor Michelle Kaufusi, sign a new contract between the Freedom Festival and Provo that includes a non-discrimination clause, as, from left to right, Isaac Paxman, David McDougal, David Sewell, Steven Shallenberger, Gary Winterton, Tracy Orme and Nancy Mann watch in the back, on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.

After weeks of negotiations and back and forth wordsmithing, America’s Freedom Festival leadership and Provo’s administration have come to an agreement on a contract that includes a new non-discrimination clause.

As part of the contract, the two entities came to an agreement on non-discrimination.

The contract reads, “[The Freedom Festival] agrees not to and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status in any of its applicable activities in violation of federal, state or local laws.”

It continues, “Nevertheless, the parties recognize and acknowledge that, consistent with applicable law, parade and other event organizers in general, and the Freedom Festival Board of Trustees in particular, have wide discretion to include or exclude organizations, groups, individuals, content, etc., on a wide variety of grounds, including but not limited to the perceived quality of the entry or offering; alignment with the theme, mission and values of the Festival; compliance with the rules and standards; and so forth.”

The mission of the festival is to “celebrate, teach, honor, and strengthen the traditional American values of God, family, freedom and country.”

In a joint statement signed by Mayor Michelle Kaufusi and Paul Warner, excutive director of the Freedom Festival, they announced their continuing partnership.

“Provo is known for its spirit of volunteerism, and the Freedom Festival is a shining example of what ordinary citizens can do when they dedicate their time and energy to a good cause,” the joint statement says. “We are pleased to announce that festival organizers and Provo City have agreed to incorporate non-discrimination language into their contractual relationship. This is the result of months of dialogue and cooperative effort. We believe this has been a growing process for those involved and that the result is a positive one.”

As part of this process, the Freedom Festival has evaluated and refined several elements pertaining to the parade. Their effort has been to maintain a high-quality parade while ensuring best practices are followed and that both the spirit and letter of legal restrictions are followed, the joint statement said.

“We thank the volunteer board members, in particular, for their dedicated service,” the statement said. “Thanks to everyone who has been involved in this process. Thank you to the public for your patience while we’ve worked at this. We look forward to many more years of celebrating freedom and patriotism here in Provo.”

Provo’s current contract with the festival outlines $75,000 cash contributions and $75,000 of in-kind contributions in exchange for the economic benefit the festival has on the city.

This newly signed contract will terminate on June 30, 2019, and will be up for renegotiation.

On March 20, Utah County added its own nondiscrimination clause to its funding contract with the Freedom Festival.

The new contract clause for the county was driven by Commission Chair Nathan Ivie citing an event from the 2017 parade where an LGBT youth resource group, Encircle, was originally approved to participate in the Freedom Festival’s parade before having the approval withdrawn at the last moment.

The contract, approved by the county, which outlines $113,000 in county funding and in-kind donations to the Freedom Festival, included an added clause, which states that the festival cannot discriminate on the basis of “race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status” for any county-sponsored events.

Utah County, Provo and the state of Utah all contribute public funding to the annual, multi-day festival which is centered around the Fourth of July.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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