FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — The group “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Intl.” has gained attention at the Minnesota State Fair over accusations that it’s a hate group.
“A lot of people have a definition of what anti-gay means, but I don’t think our group is anti-gay,” said Jake McMillian, a spokesperson for the group.
The group’s booth has been protested by some fair-goers after they found it listed as an anti-gay hate group on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website.
“We’ve heard that a few times, but I really don’t want to say anything right now,” one of the booth volunteers said.
The group’s leader, Bradlee Dean, was denounced last year by legislative leaders for making anti-gay comments in an opening prayer at the Capitol.
“Anybody who is involved in homosexual lifestyle…sex outside of marriage, that type of lifestyle, we discourage that because we see that it’s very damaging to people,” McMillian said.
State Fair general manager Jerry Hammer says even if you don’t agree with the message the group is promoting, it’s a matter of free speech.
“We’ll have between 1.7 – 1.8 million people at the fair this year. I guarantee every one of them will find something somewhere they disagree with,” he said.
Hammer says any political group can have a booth if they submit a registration and pay the fees. The only time a group isn’t allowed to have one is if it threatens public safety.
“It comes down to how the information is presented,” Hammer said.
The group hands out pamphlets at the booth that state their mission is to redirect the morals of young people through education and Christian values.
“If you don’t like it, don’t go to the booth,” Hammer said. “From an administrative position, we treat them all the same.”
You Can Run But You Cannot Hide has had a booth at the fair for eight years.
Dean, the group’s leader, was unavailable for comment.