VisitBlanes.com — If you came to Blanes this past weekend expecting to find the Gay Pride 2010 festival, you were out of luck.
At the last moment the town council decided it would not issue a permit for the event.
A spokesperson for the city said the decision was made because the promotion of gay tourism cannot coexist with the family-friendly image Blanes wants to portray.
Just last year Blanes adopted a motion declaring itself to be ‘gay friendly’ — the first city in Spain to do so. The idea was to promote LGBT tourism as well as a social model based on respect for diversity.
At the time Blanes’ statement came just weeks after the neighboring tourist resort of Lloret de Mar rejected a similar proposal.
Fernando Gómez (Democratic Party of Blanes, PdB), the alderman responsible for Tourism, officially mentions economic reasons for refusing to issue a permit to the Pride organizers.
However, according to El Periódico he also says, “It is inconsistent to promote gay tourism along with family tourism and sporting events.”
Gomez also is against the addition of a rainbow flag at locations throughout the city, saying it would not be appropriate since other associations will also want to add their own flags.
El Periódico points out that last year’s adoptation of the ‘gay friendly’ motion was not without controversy. The paper says most of the population was against it, not in the least place because a competing motion would have seen Blanes declare itself a ‘family vacation destination.’
Gay Pride organizer Andres Villaseca says he doesn’t know what ‘economic reasons’ the city is referring to since his organization, Gaylestots, never asked the town for financial support.
Gomez says the permit request, made on June 19, came late and by that time the city had no budget left for the additional costs involved in hosting another 20.000 to 30.000 expected guests.
Meanwhil the nearby towns of Santa Susana and Pineda de Mar did issue permits for Gay Pride 2010, with officials saying that local hotels, bars, restaurants and other businesses would welcome the cash injection.
Santa Susana mayor Josep Monreal (CiU) commented that all sectors of society deserve respect. Xavier Amor (PSC), his counterpart from Pineda, added that we should not resort to labels.