The Los Angeles Dodgers reversed course and reinvited a group known for its queer and drag membership to its Pride Night event after it faced blowback over its last-minute exclusion.
The team announced the move Monday, saying the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence has agreed to appear at the event June 16 at Dodger Stadium during a game against San Francisco.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends and families,” the team said.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, established in San Francisco in 1979, was expected to accept the night’s Community Hero Award.
In a statement on its homepage, the organization describes its mission: “We use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.”
On May 17, after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, decried the group’s inclusion, the Dodgers rescinded its invitation. Rubio criticized the inclusion in a letter to Major League Baseball.
He said the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence mock Catholicism and encourage “perversion” of Jesus’ tenets.
The team didn’t expressly agree, but it argued the group’s presence would be polarizing. The move came as aggressive right-wing demonstrators have targeted events known as “drag queen story hour” for threats and protests, and as Republican-dominated legislatures in multiple states have passed anti-trans bills.
The team may not have anticipated the response.
The next day, LA Pride, which produces the city’s eponymous annual parade and festivities celebrating LGBTQ life and culture, dropped out of Pride Night.
The Dodgers said the episode provides an opportunity “to better educate ourselves, find ways to strengthen the ties that bind and use our platform to support all of our fans who make up the diversity of the Dodgers family.”
LA Pride did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and it had yet to post any official reactions on its social media platforms.
Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner said in a statement Monday that the team’s mea culpa was “a step in the right direction.”
“Last week’s debacle underscores the dangerous impact of political tactics by those who seek to stoke the flames of anti-LGBTQ bias at a time when our rights are under attack,” he said. “We must continue to stand together.”