Madison firefighters will not participate in the Pride Parade on Sunday, in a show of support for Madison police who have been told by organizers not to march while in uniform.
In a statement Tuesday, the Madison Fire Department said it wanted to show “solidarity” with the police force by not marching in the annual parade put on by OutReach for the LGBT community.
“We are fully supportive of the LGBTQ community and have enthusiastically participated in Madison’s Pride Parade in the past,” the statement said.
“However, we also stand in full support of our colleagues of the Madison Police Department.”
“In light of the disappointing decision by OutReach to rescind the invitation to the Madison Police Department to participate in this years’s Pride Parade, the Madison Fire Department, in solidarity with our women and men in blue, must respectfully and regretfully decline to participate in this year’s parade.”
The UW-Madison Police Department was notified on Friday of the OutReach decision to rescind its invitation to march in the parade, and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office also was uninvited on Friday. Some said they felt unsafe with officers participating armed and in uniform.
Madison officers will still work as security for the parade, and off-duty, unarmed plain clothes police, deputies and families are invited to participate.
The Pride Parade is one of two big events this weekend that will result in traffic being redirected Downtown.
On Saturday morning, the Madison Mini Marathon will require several streets to close, but all closures are expected to end by noon.
The race starts on Langdon Street at the Memorial Union and goes east to Mifflin Street on Capitol Square before heading back west to go through the Arboretum and streets in and around the UW-Madison campus.
The Pride Parade on Sunday will start at State and Gilman Streets and go to Capitol Square, resulting in closure of the streets around the Square from 11 a.m. to about 2 p.m.
All streets crossing State Street except for North Lake Street will be closed from 12:45 p.m. until about 1:45 p.m. while the parade is underway.
The area on the square where State, Mifflin and Carroll streets meet will be closed until about 4 p.m. for a rally after the parade.
No traffic will be allowed to cross State Street during the parade, except at North Lake Street.