AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Austin ISD said they will be using money obtained from rental revenue from Celebration Church and dozens of others who use their performing arts center, to participate in this year's Pride parade and other LGBTQ related activities.
“We know it's going to be at least $10,000 that we are going to use to support a variety of things, transportation, security, promotional materials,” said Reyne Telles, executive director of communication and engagement for AISD.
Celebration Church stated on their website that they are welcoming to people of all backgrounds, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation, however, they state their view on marriage, referencing a bible verse, as a covenant between a man and a woman. On their website they do not take a stance on gay marriage.
Recently, protesters have stood outside of the performing arts center.
“We have seen some of them who say they have been protesting at the facility on Sundays during the rental time period, show up at our board meeting and express that they did not believe in the preachings of this particular church,” said Telles.
The district says some of those protesters are urging the district to cut ties with Celebration.
“We have heard comments both for and against this decision," Telles said. "The Austin Independent School District is committed to individual's First Amendment rights however that may look, so we understand there are some beliefs that some church members may have by the same token we understand there are some individuals who oppose those beliefs and have been protesting on their own accord outside the church."
Austin ISD said they plan to participate in Pride-related activities in June, August and October. They see this as an opportunity to express their inclusivity to students of all backgrounds.
“The AISD is committed to supporting all students in a welcoming environment,” said Telles. "We do that in a variety of activities. I have spoken to individuals who do have my position from other school districts, and they are surprised about our participation."
Celebration Church did not return a request for comment.