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Pride and Prejudice

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Who knew one little event could have so much drama?

The rush to celebrate and support Boise's gay community has pitted two gay-friendly groups against each other.

Boise Pride, the group organizing the annual gay pride celebration, is charging that the Balcony, a gay-friendly club, is using the event logo without permission and without being a sanctioned sponsor or location.

Balcony owners said they've never used the logo in question and are planning their own events in an effort to show their support for the gay community.

Kristopher Jenkins, director of Boise Pride, said he saw a poster advertising a calendar of Pride-related events using the organization's logo at the Balcony last week. He said the business had declined sponsoring any part of the official event and did not have permission to use the logo.

His group called a lawyer, and Monday morning headed to the Idaho Secretary of State's office to have the logo trademarked, which was granted in an expedited process.

"We didn't feel it was necessary," Jenkins said of the trademark application, adding that the event only happens once a year and the logo is different each year.

With the trademark certification in hand, Jenkins said Boise Pride is sending a cease and desist letter to the Balcony's owners.

But David Ford, co-owner of the club, said he didn't use the logo in question and is planning his own series of events after his business was excluded from this year's official Pride events.

Ford said the Pride organization was late in notifying him of the schedule, and it appeared that the group had already booked events that traditionally happened at the Balcony at other locations.

The conflict goes back much further than a misused logo. Ford said he takes exception with the way Boise Pride is structured, saying the group is no longer a nonprofit.

Jenkins counters with the fact that while the group was initially a limited liability corporation, it has reformed and is recognized by the Secretary of State's Office as a nonprofit. It has filed for nonprofit status with the federal government, but is awaiting final approval.

Ford still feels slighted. He has organized his own event and hopes members of Boise's gay community will celebrate at his club.

"The gay community is a huge part of our business," he said. "It's important that we come across as wanting to give back, but we didn't want to be told how to do that by Boise Pride."

Ford said all proceeds from Pride-associated events will be donated to nonprofit organizations supporting the gay community, including the Community Center.

Jenkins calls the whole thing disingenuous.

He said if the Balcony fails to remove the Pride logo from any promotional material, the Pride organization has the right to file a lawsuit.

Despite the disagreement, the Pride event will go on as planned, with events beginning June 11 and culminating with the Pride Festival June 14.

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