Organizers of the Utah Pride Festival are offering a free parade float spot to an Idaho group stymied by the Western Days Festival in Twin Falls.

The Southern Idaho Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Community Center was told it could have a float in today's Twin Falls parade — as long as the group didn't use its full name, display rainbow flags or hand out AIDS awareness information, The Associated Press reported.

"We hope they will take us up on our offer to come over here and be guests," said Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center.

The Utah Pride Festival is June 6-8 at Washington Square in downtown Salt Lake City. The Pride Parade is downtown June 8 at 10 a.m.

In Twin Falls, organizers of the three-day Western Days festival had banned the group's rainbow-decorated float from the parade last year, saying they wanted the event to reflect the conservative, religious and family values of the area. Private donations make up the $27,000 budget for Western Days.

"The parade represents community and family, and that's exactly what we stand for as well," Larabee said. "When we can be proud of our own families and community, I don't think that's offensive at all."

Last year was the first time an application had been denied in the Western Days parade's 26-year history. The group staged a protest in response, and some members said another protest might be staged this year due to the restrictions.

"I do live in the United States, but I'm being treated like an alien," Brandy Jones, president of the Southern Idaho GLBT Community Center, told The Times-News newspaper. "Why lie about who we are?"

Lisa Cuellar, board chairwoman for Western Days, and MaryAnne Taylor, parade chairwoman, said they didn't set any restrictions this year but simply received an application from the group that was acceptable for entry into the parade. They said the application listed the Southern Idaho Community Center, and not the group's longer name.

"They entered the name Southern Idaho Community Center, so that's how they have to be in the parade," she said. "They just have not been up front with us. Maybe it's the lack of communication of both ends."


Contributing: Associated Press

E-mail: dbulkeley@desnews.com