Pride Flag Activists Oppose California City Flag Ban

The Orange County, California, town of Huntington Beach voted last week in favor of a measure to ban most flags from public property in a move that raised an outcry from LGBT activists.

Huntington Beach voted by 58% to 42% to approve the measure, which prohibits anyone from displaying flags on public property unless they are on an approved list or unanimously approved by the Huntington Beach City Council to join the list.

The approved flags are the United States flag, the California flag, the county flag, the city flag, the POW-MIA flag, the flags of the six branches of the U.S. military, and the Olympic flag during the Summer Olympic games.

The county ordinance is similar to one the city council approved last year over protests from LGBT groups, but did not have a provision for residents and guests in the county to display approved flags on Huntington Beach public property.

The measure does not single out LGBT rainbow pride flags and prohibit their display on public property, but all flags not on the approved list.

That includes religious flags like the Christian flag and flag of St. George’s Cross, breast cancer awareness flags, Confederate flags, Black Lives Matter flags and all other political causes unless the city council unanimously votes to approve one. However the local LGBT group in Orange County does not agree with the flag prohibition in public places.

The LGBTQ Center OC is a county group that gives free rainbow pride flags to county residents and businesses. According to the group’s president, Peg Corley, in remarks to a local NBC channel, banning the flags sends the message: “We want LGBTQ people to be a little bit less seen and a lot less heard in Huntington Beach.”

A memo from the center said, “We are strongly encouraging the Huntington Beach City Council members to keep flying the Pride flag. We must take into consideration the escalating rate of hate crimes and incidents that have occurred over the past year in Orange County.”

“The solution should not be to remove the Pride flag, but rather to engage in respectful dialogue and education about its meaning and importance,” the center said.