State Watch

Pennsylvania GOP targets non-approved flags flown by top state Democrat

The Republican-dominated Pennsylvania state legislature on Friday included in its budget legislation a provision banning the display of non-approved flags at the state Capitol building, including the pro-marijuana legalization and LGBTQ- and transgender-rights flags the lieutenant governor hangs from his office balcony. 

According to The Associated Press, John Fetterman (D) said he was not aware of the provision until notified by a reporter Friday, adding that he had no intention of removing the flags until lawmakers pass legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational use and make it illegal for employers and others to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I would be delighted to take them down if they give us that,” Fetterman told the AP. “That’s the reason I’m flying them.”

The legislature has blocked legislation on both issues. 

According to the AP, Fetterman flies his marijuana flag year-round, while he reserves the LGBTQ- and transgender-rights flags for Pride Month in June.

“Are they going to send the gay pride police to come and seize them? I didn’t know we had that division in the state police,” Fetterman said.

The budget provision prohibits any flag other than the American flag, Pennsylvania’s state flag or a flag honoring missing American soldiers from flying over the state Capitol building or Capitol grounds, according to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star

The provision’s draft language also bans banners, posters or temporary signs from hanging in the Capitol’s external windows, balconies or alcoves.

A spokesperson for Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R) would not comment to the AP on whether the provision was related to Fetterman’s flags, saying that “it has to do with providing for uniformity and decorum for what is displayed on the outside of the Capitol.”

Fetterman took to Twitter to publicly respond to the provision Friday, reiterating his promise that he will remove the flags once the legislature passes the marijuana and LGBTQ legislation. 

He also posted a previous picture of the LGBTQ and transgender pride flags from his balcony, writing, “See y’all in June.” 

Shortly after, Fetterman tweeted that he found a combined marijuana and LGBTQ pride flag online. Minutes later, he notified his followers that he had purchased two of them with a screenshot of the order confirmation. 

$5 says they’ll like these even more on my balcony,” he wrote.

Tags GOP legislation Harrisburg John Fetterman LGBTQ pride flag LGBTQ rights marijuana legalization Pennsylvania The Associated Press transgender pride
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