Pierce County leaders sign pride proclamation as councilmember refuses to attend meeting

Ahead of Saturday's Pride festival in Tacoma, a show of support from some Pierce County leaders. 

The Pierce County Council issued a proclamation of support for the LGBTQ community.  

Councilmember Amy Cruver was not present in-person at the meeting. As FOX 13 reported last week, she's refusing to be in the council chambers until the pride flag is removed later this month. Cruver had called the flag a distraction.


Pierce County Council member opposes Pride flag display in meeting room

Pierce County Council member Amy Cruver, who represents District 3, appeared virtually from her office. Her reasoning — she would not sit in council chambers where a Pride flag sits on display.

Despite the hold-outs, supporters of the proclamation packed the council room to celebrate. They are calling it a momentous day for Pierce County.

"I’ve been a resident for seventeen years of this community and this is the first time I’ve had a proclamation read about my rights and about my being seen in my community," said Dana Coggin, a community engagement specialist.

Councilmembers Ryan Mello,Marty Campbell, Jani Hitchen & Robyn Denson were among those that signed the proclamation. Mello thanked the others for their bravery.  

"We’ve heard so much testimony already today how powerful it is for the government to send signals that everyone is included, everyone belongs here," said Ryan Mello, Pierce County Council Chair.

"They are just like everybody else and should feel loved and supported here," said Jani Hitchen, Pierce County Councilmember.

Councilmembers Dave Morell, Paul Herrera, & Amy Cruver did not sign the proclamation. Herrera explained his stance during Tuesday's meeting.

"I will honor everybody’s rights to be the Americans they are. I will defend everybody’s rights that live in my district," said Herrera. "I will be outspoken in the defense of everybody’s lifestyle, their religions and things like that. But, I’ll also defend my and other's rights to be outspoken against those same actions."

Councilmember Amy Cruver appeared virtually during Tuesday's meeting.

"My hope would be that she would be willing to have conversations and maybe show up and have some difficult opportunities for growth," said Coggin. 

"We have really tough issues in front of Pierce County, and we need adults who are willing to do the job, show up and do the work," said Mello.

"I think she’s using it as a platform to basically spread misinformation to show people in the community she doesn’t align with them," said Hitchen.  

Mello said those who didn't sign the proclamation Tuesday can do so anytime.

"I truly hope that one day this pride proclamation is truly bi-partisan, and all 7 members of the county council," said Mello.

"The reality is that we’ve been fighting for small wins. It’s not about the big win, and everybody signing on," said Coggin. "This is a democracy. This is an opportunity to have differences in opinion and honor each other’s different opinions while also celebrating the fact we get to be seen as a queer community."

We previously reached out to Cruver about her comments, and did not hear back.  

Coggin says the pride flag will be displayed in council chambers through the end of the month.


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