The resolution passed unanimously as part of the county’s consensus agenda on May 17. Councilman Johnny Vaught told CNN in an email, “No one on council caught it because the resolution just said ‘pride month.'”
Vaught said the council began to receive backlash from the community after it passed the resolution.
“Councilmen got many emails expressing dismay that council would vote for an LGBTQIA month in such a conservative county. We brought the resolution back up at the next meeting and it was unanimously voted down. Councilmen voted the way their constituents demanded. End of story,” Vaught said.
Danny Hardee, the councilman who motioned to reconsider the resolution, said members initially missed the proposal due to a “perfect storm” of events going on, such as working on the budget and upcoming elections.
“I can assure you I will spend more time on the consent agenda than I have in the past,” said Hardee who felt somebody on the council would have probably picked up on the resolution during “normal times.”
“I personally don’t think that councils should be doing any kind of thing like that. It doesn’t matter whether it’s gay months or confederate months or Juneteenth or whatever; that’s not my job to set aside those dates. Those are state and federal holidays,” Hardee told CNN.
Hardee added that while he disagreed with the Pride Month resolution, he did not intend to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings.
Pat Hartley, clerk to the county council, said Grand Strand PRIDE, a local LGBTQ+ advocacy group, sent an email requesting for the resolution to be placed on the May agenda, which she said was just “par for the course.”
Items such as proclamations and resolutions are usually considered noncontroversial and only require the council to vote once according to Hartley. The council chairman, Johnny Gardner has the sole authority to remove items before approving the agenda, she added.
CNN attempted to contact Gardner for a comment, but he had not responded.
Following the vote to rescind, Grand Strand PRIDE released a statement on Twitter
expressing their disappointment.
“Grand Strand PRIDE is disheartened by the action of the Horry County Council at their meeting last night quietly rescinding their resolution designating the month of June as PRIDE month in Horry County. This news dampens our spirits but we resolve to make progress by continuing our advocacy work to make all of Horry County inclusive, diverse and equal for all.”
Horry County encompasses the cities of Conway and Myrtle Beach.