MIFFLINBURG, UNION COUNTY (WOLF) — A protest over a controversial sign at a Union County grocery store had people out in force to support the LGBTQIA community Sunday.
"We're here to love, we're not for hate. And my hope is that it will bring unity and a greater understanding," said Victoria Mathews, the founder of the I Am Alliance, the group which organized the event.
The idea for the rally started after a sign was put on Wenger's grocery store spreading misinformation about mask usage and coronavirus, going on to say the LGBTQ lifestyle is "a sin in God's eyes and spreads deadly diseases."
The sign has since been removed.
"Why does it matter to a grocery store what someone's sexual identity is. That doesn't make any sense to me," said 15-years old protester Deja Neidig.
But Sunday's rally went beyond just this.
"I am a gay man in central PA who grew up here, around here," said Trevor Leon, of Milton. "It's hard."
The demonstration went from 7th street, down Chestnut Street to 1st street. There was a different color of the rainbow on every corner to break things up and help people socially distance.
"Some little gay kid growing up here in Central PA is going to see this and see all the support and hopefully it helps," said Leon.
Not everyone was on board with the message.
Cars with confederate and US flags circled the rally, revving their engines.
"Try to blast their horns at us and try to silence us," said Neidig. "That is not American. That is silencing. That is oppression."
"You have to have the right to voice it, but you have to be invited," countered Andred Genovese, of Mifflinburg. "There really wasn't an invitation for this."
Organizers did try to get permits for the rally, but say every option was stonewalled, so they peacefully assembled on public property.
"Doesn't mean we don't love them. It just means it's sin. My sin's no different than her sin, but God says you should not be a homosexual," said Carl Schreck, a counter protester.
"Love is love and [...] you shouldn't judge anybody based on any characteristic of themselves," said Neidig.
Sunday's event - an attemp to open the dialogue in central PA.
"We're not trying to incite anything except for change. We're not trying to bring anything to the community except for love," explained Mathews. "We think that our message is valid and worth hearing and we at least have the right to make it heard."
The Pride event was held one day after a First Amendment rally at Wenger's.
There, many spoke out about the grocery store's right to free speech.
FOX56 reached out to the owners about their sign or these events. So far, we haven't heard anything back.