Pennsylvania Mayor Canceled Pride Flag Ceremony Minutes Before It Was Set To Happen
As Reading, Pennsylvania, residents were readying themselves for a ceremony raising the LGBTQ Pride flag atop city hall, Mayor Wally Scott, a Democrat, made a last-minute decision to cancel it altogether.
Scott said he did so because he felt the flag is a political symbol, and believed raising it over the city hall building would violate statutes, ThinkProgress reported.
The decision came so late that no one had any time to try and convince Scott to change his mind. City Council Presideent Jeffrey Waltman Sr. said he was unable to discuss whether the flag was political or not due to the time crunch.
“I didn’t even have time to debate that with him,” Waltman said.
Local media also reported that Scott tried to explain the event itself was a surprise to him, and that he didn’t know about it until hours before it was set to happen. Many criticized those statements, however, as city officials had signed off on the event weeks prior to it’s planned date this past Monday.
As a result, protests were staged on the streets of Reading, with demonstrators carrying the Pride flag throughout the city to voice their outrage.
The group then marched to the corner of 9th and Washington streets where Mayor Scott is known to hang out. pic.twitter.com/scX5c7tVz1
— Jeremy Long (@jeremymlong) July 15, 2019
The flying of the Pride flag over government buildings was a contentious issue last month, which was officially Pride Month.
Statehouses and cities across the nation lifted up Pride flags at their locales, but the Trump administration refused to do so, going so far as to even restrict U.S. embassies around the world from raising the flag as well.
In Wisconsin, similar arguments were made against raising the Pride flag after Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, did so. Some Republican lawmakers said that doing so was a political statement.
Evers, in his declaration announcing his decision to raise the Pride flag over the state Capitol building, said dislaying the emblem “sends a clear an unequivocal message” that “everyone can live without fear of prosecution, judgment, or discrimination” in the state, per reporting from the Associated Press.