This one was unexpected…
In Reading, Pennsylvania, the mayor’s refused to let a Gay Pride flag fly over City Hall.
And why? Because, he claims, it would send a non-impartial political message.
The Reading Eagle reports:
Dozens of people were ready to make history Monday evening by raising the pride flag over City Hall for the first time, but Mayor Wally Scott had a different idea.
Scott prohibited City Council and city employees from allowing the flag, which recognizes Reading’s Pride Celebration for people in the LGBTQ community, to be raised minutes before the event was set to start. It was to be flown until Sunday.
Council President Jeffrey S. Waltman Sr. was informed of Wally’s decision just minutes before arriving to City Hall. And he tried to get the Mayor to change his mind.
But no dice.
“He has concerns for flying a flag for one specific cause because it could raise questions.”
The Mayor’s position raises a good question — should the city take sides on each particular position as its flag is proposed to be hailed overhead, or should the government stick to only for-everyone flags representing the collective nation, its veterans, etc?
But Jeffrey wasn’t happy. He even tried to get Wally to put it up for just a few hours.
“The Mayor stated he supports the group, the cause but had concerns about raising the flag.”
Acting Managing Director Osmer Deming further crystallized the issue:
“[Wally’s] position is that he does not support flags being up that support political movements, and he views that as a political movement.”
Councilwoman Donna Reed (not that one) was downright ticked off. She stood on the steps and proclaimed, “This is the ‘People’s Mayor,’ everyone. Just not all of us people.”
How does it mean he isn’t the mayor for people who wanna fly the Pride flag just because he doesn’t wanna fly the Pride flag?
Donna knows how. And she wasn’t taking it. She suggested the group march down to the Mayor’s hangout and really stick it to him. Therefore, this:
The group then marched to the corner of 9th and Washington streets where Mayor Scott is known to hang out. pic.twitter.com/scX5c7tVz1
— Jeremy Long (@jeremymlong) July 15, 2019
Wally wasn’t there.
Citizen Ernie Schlegel’s hot about the situation.
More from that Eagle that Reads:
“Our flag is being kept off the pole. I’m going to be talking to the human relations commission about this and see if we have a stand for discrimination.”
Schlegel said City Council put in place the commission in 2009 as a way to investigate discrimination.
“Here we are 10 years later,” Schlegel said.
Michelle Dech — executive director of the LGBT Center of Greater Reading — was peeved, too:
“This is a huge disappointment today, not just for those of us here, but all of us in the community, ” Dech said. “Raising this flag to make history, and it’s really disappointing and sad.”
Ben Renkus, vice president of the center and president of Reading Pride Celebration, said the community still needs to fight for its rights.
“It goes to show us we still have a lot of work to do,” Renkus said. “Even in a city that has ordinances to protect our rights, we have to fight for those.
So what kind of flags have previously waved from the city’s huge pole? As per TRE, that’d be the POW/MIA flag, the French flag, and banners repping the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Will the rainbow flag ever fly from Reading’s most prized place? Could be. But for some folks, it won’t be soon enough.
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