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Horry County Council quietly rescinds support for LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Horry County Council (copy)

Horry County Council debates the budget during a recent meeting. File/Richard Caines/Staff

MYRTLE BEACH — The Horry County Council quietly rescinded its resolution designating June as Pride Month during its meeting this week.

Council members approved the resolution in May that supported the LGBTQ+ community's contributions to the county's economy, academics and arts.

The resolution noted that the state's fourth-largest county "is dedicated to ensuring that everyone is empowered to live their life freely" and "encourages citizens to recognize, celebrate and accept the ongoing efforts and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community by building a culture of inclusiveness and acceptance."

The county passed the Pride Month designation on May 17 along with a number of other resolutions with single quick voice vote. Those resolutions included a designation for National Public Works Week.

At the June 7 meeting, Councilman Danny Hardee, who represents a large rural area in the central part of the county, asked the council to rescind its approval of "Resolution 51-2022" without mentioning its topic, which was the Pride Month designation.

Council Chairman Johnny Gardner called for a voice vote, which got a few "yeas" and the Pride Month designation was rescinded.

The speedy vote without discussion or full disclosure "disheartened" the region's main LGBTQ+ rights group. 

“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 to all," Grand Strand Pride said in a statement.

The designation was rescinded a week before Grand Strand Pride holds its annual Pride celebration at Chapin Park in Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach City Council passed a Pride Month proclamation on May 24 that was worded similarly to the one Horry County just rescinded.

Hardee and Gardner did not respond to requests for comment June 9.

Horry County is one of the state's strongest conservative bases, though Myrtle Beach has been known for decades as a haven for the gay community. 

Six county council members, including Gardner, are up for reelection in the June 14 primary. Council member Johnny Vaught is among those running for chairman.

Other council members seeking reelection include District 1 Councilman Harold Worley, District 2 Councilman Bill Howard, District 5 Councilman Tyler Servant, District 7 Councilman Orton Bellamy and District 11 Councilman Al Allen. Allen and Servant have no primary opposition. 

All six candidates are Republicans and will run unopposed in the November election.

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 Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter @NicoleZiege.

Nicole Ziege covers city and county government and politics for The Post & Courier Myrtle Beach. She is originally from Kentucky, and now lives in Myrtle Beach.

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