A California beach community has reversed a decision to fly the gay pride flag in front of government buildings and will now only allow a select group of flags to be flown.
In a 4-3 party line vote, the city council in Huntington Beach, California voted to advance a proposal that would no longer allow the gay pride flag to be flown in front of government buildings, KTLA 5 reported.
The move comes roughly two years after the city council unanimously voted in 2021 to fly the gay pride flag in front of city hall during gay pride month.
According to the proposal, which did not specifically mention the LGBT flag, the only flags that may be flown in front of city government buildings are the U.S. flag, the California state flag, the city flag, the county flag, the POW/MIA flag and flags representing the six branches of the military.
Several residents voiced opposition to the move at a city council meeting on Tuesday including former Huntington Beach Mayor Connie Boardman, who said flying the gay pride flag is a “small gesture that recognizes the value of our residents and visitor who belong to the LGBTQ+ community.”
Newly elected Republican Councilmember Pat Burns, who introduced the proposal, suggested that the move will unite people more than it divides and is aimed at eliminating “divisive titling”, NBC 4 Los Angeles reported on Wednesday.
“It has nothing to do with segregating or being anything else to another group,” Burns said. “It has nothing to do with that. It’s recognizing we are one.”
Democrat Councilmember Rhonda Bolton disagreed.
“The fact that we have symbols that have a special meaning to certain segments of the community does not mean that other segments of the community are excluded,” Bolton said.
Huntington Beach, a town of about 200,000 people roughly 40 miles south of Los Angeles, sits in Orange County, California, which was historically a Republican stronghold but has shifted left in recent years including in 2020 when the county supported President Biden by almost 10 points.
“Huntington Beach is inclusive,” Huntington Beach resident Kathy Carrick, a supporter of the measure, said, Los Angeles Times reported. “The notion that we need a flag to say that is absurd.”