The Yakima City Council has decided that the gay pride flag won't wave off the west wall of city hall this June ... and neither will any other non-governmental special interest flags in the future for that matter.

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Backstory of Yakima and The Pride Flag

Back in June of 2020, the council at the time voted for the City of Yakima to recognize Gay Pride Month by allowing the rainbow flag to fly alongside the American Flag, Washington State Flag, and The National League of Families POW/MIA flag.

It was a controversial move for a conservative community with many residents taking to the radio airwaves, social media, and letters to the editor of the local newspaper to let their feelings be known.

Some of those most upset were opposed to the flag because of their personal feelings about the LGBTQ movement and others felt that a governmental entity such as City Council had no business taking an advocacy stand on any kind of special interest.  Thought being that to fly the flag would be seen as an endorsement of the requesting organization and its beliefs and practices and would ultimately lead to other groups wanting their flags to be flown and to be afforded the same measure of acceptance and support.

IMHO

In my personal opinion, the yes vote was a gesture of "virtue signaling" that overrode the common sense message of prudence that an official no vote from the city perspective would have sent.   However, the measure passed on a vote of 4-3 and the flag flew and that was that.

Current council members who voted in favor of the pride flag two years ago were Eliana Macias, Holly Cousens, and Soneya Lund. Did they have a change of heart on Tuesday?  Unknown, but they did have a change of vote as the decision to change the city's flag policy was unanimous.

Supreme Court Case Catches Council's Attention

City Councilman Matt Brown called the radio station today to say that the motivation for the change comes on the heels of the recent Supreme Court decision ruling against the city of Boston for denying a request to fly a Christian flag while allowing scores of other flags the opportunity.

Politico reported:

 A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday that Boston violated the free speech rights of a conservative activist when it refused his request to fly a Christian flag on a flagpole outside City Hall. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the court that the city discriminated against the activist, Harold Shurtleff, because of his “religious viewpoint,” even though it had routinely approved applications for the use of one of the three flagpoles outside City Hall that fly the U.S., Massachusetts and Boston flags

Backstory Of The Pride Flag Itself

The rainbow flag

has become a worldwide symbol of LGBTQ pride....created by Gilbert Baker, a prominent figure among gay political activists in San Francisco in the 1970s.  The first flag was hand-stitched and dyed with the help of volunteers for its debut at the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day celebration.

The rainbow flag is still free to fly in Yakima next month, just not off the wall of City Hall.  It's the right call for the right reason which reinforces once again the importance of using your vote to help elect those who will create the kind of government that best represents and acts on your values.

Persistence Pays

For the record former Mayor Patricia Beyers voted against the measure then and now.  She made Tuesday's motion, Matt Brown seconded, and finally, common sense, nudged along by a Supreme Court decision on constitutional grounds, resulting in the specter of legal threat and subsequent unanimous decision.

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