Outer Banks gay festival stirs debate

Feb. 14, 2011 at 1:29 PM
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NAGS HEAD, N.C., Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Organizers of the Outer Banks of North Carolina's first gay-pride festival say they are not intimidated by opposition.

But David Miller, a co-founder of the group planning OBX Pridefest, to be held in June in Nags Head, told The (Norfolk, Va.) Virginian-Pilot he is offended by some critics.

Pastor Charles Tyler of Roanoke Island Baptist Church has called homosexuality "a scourge in any society that values decency" and charged the festival is being marketed as family-friendly to corrupt children.

Evening events are planned for adults, but most of OBX Pridefest is designed to be suitable for families, organizers say. There will be no parade.

"We're just slowly trying to change those attitudes so that these folks coming to the Outer Banks won't get dirty looks from people," Miller said.

Since OBX Pride announced the festival, the "rants and raves" section of Outer Banks Craigslist has been full of hate speech and veiled threats, and calls for protests, counter-rallies and boycotts.

"I think people that write anonymous crap like that are chickens," said Nags Head Mayor Bob Oakes, whose Village Realty is a sponsor of the event.

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