Osterberg, Schmalzle issue statement on Pride Month decision

Milford. The Commissioners gave their reasoning for not declaring June Pride Month.

| 11 Jun 2024 | 11:15

In response to requests to proclaim June as Pride Month, two of Pike County’s three commissioners — Matthew Osterberg and Ron Schmalzle — have issued a statement explaining why they cannot make such a proclamation.

“We recognize that there is a significant LGBTQ+ population in Pike County, and that all human beings are equal in dignity and worth. And, as the executive governing body for county government, our responsibilities as Commissioners are clearly outlined in the Pennsylvania County Code. We are responsible for implementing the County budget and overseeing contracts; and we are required by law to provide certain services to citizens. Within those duties, the Commissioners Office has a long-standing precedent of acting on proclamations and resolutions related to County initiatives, programs and services which we administer to validate our support of the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions as dictated by our oath of office. As elected officials, we recognize and are committed to representing and supporting all county residents. Our office does not single out individuals or groups for lifestyle choice, sexual orientation, political platform, heritage, or religious beliefs. Therefore, we will not place the requested Pride Month proclamation on our agenda,” the commissioners said in a joint statement.

Pike County is not the only Pennsylvania county to refrain from proclaiming June Pride Month. However, a few counties, such as Chester and Delaware, have made such proclamations and hold county-wide Pride festivals. Pride Month is celebrated each June in recognition of the persecution and incremental liberation of the LGBTQ+ community over the decades. For example, nine years ago same sex couples were granted the right to legally marry nationwide. This meant that such couples could also provide pensions, inheritance, and other government benefits to their loved ones upon death just like opposite sex couples.

The commissioners went on to note that LGBTQ+ residents will continue to be protected within the Pike County community. “The United States Constitution provides the framework that protects individual liberties and promotes general welfare, thereby creating the conditions necessary for people to pursue their individual happiness. We stand by all who live in and visit Pike County and we affirm that hate should never be tolerated. If anyone experiences hate or needs support, we urge you to contact law enforcement or the appropriate professional services specific to your situation. The Commissioners Office will continue to have respectful and educational dialog to maintain Pike County as a community that accepts and respects all people.

“We will continue to be engaged with local and state law enforcement, and the services within the county with a focus on the safety, wellbeing and happiness of all residents.

“We encourage members of the LGBTQ+ community to continue to be involved in the many good organizations within our County that foster a better quality of life for all.

“The LGBTQ+ community is always welcome at our public meetings, and we are available to meet to hear your perspectives. We will also honor and respect your right to assemble and celebrate peacefully.”