Pennsylvania mayor refuses to raise LGBT pride flag over city hall, calls it ‘political’ symbol

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A mayor in Pennsylvania has blocked the local city council from raising the LGBT pride flag at city hall, calling it a “political” symbol.

Reading, Pa., Mayor Wally Scott (D) on Monday prohibited city employees from raising the rainbow flag as part of a pride celebration shortly before it was set to fly, the Reading Eagle reported. It was scheduled to be up on the flagpole until Sunday.

Acting Managing Director Osmer Deming said the mayor believes the flag represents a political movement and to fly it would be against city policy.

“The mayor’s position is that he does not support flags being up that support political movements and he views that as a political movement,” Deming said.{mosads}

The newspaper noted that the POW/MIA flag flies below the U.S. flag at the Reading City Hall. In the past, the local government has also flown flags for the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and France.

Council President Jeffrey Waltman said he tried to convince the mayor to change his mind but was unsuccessful.

“He has concerns for flying a flag for one specific cause because it could raise questions,” Waltman told The Reading Eagle. “I didn’t even have time to debate that with him.”

Waltman said the mayor vocalized support for the LGBT group and their cause, but didn’t want to raise the flag.

Michelle Dech, executive director of the LGBT Center of Greater Reading, said a group plans to protest the decision by showing up at the next city council meeting.

“This is a huge disappointment today, not just for those of us here, but all of us in the community,” Dech told the newspaper. “Raising this flag to make history, and it’s really disappointing and sad.”

City resident Ernie Schlegel told the outlet he plans to file a complaint with the city’s human relations commission.

“Our flag is being kept off the pole,” Schlegel said. “I’m going to be talking to the human relations commission about this and see if we have a stand for discrimination.”

Scott came in third place during the Democratic Party’s primary election in May.

He lost the nomination to Eddie Moran, who is the vice president of the Reading School Board. Moran could become the first Latino mayor of Reading if he defeats Republican Louis Perugini in November’s general election, according to the outlet.

A Minnesota mayor faced similar backlash earlier this month for refusing to sign a proclamation honoring LGBTQ Awareness Day.

Tags LGBTQ community Pennsylvania pride month rainbow flag Reading

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