Cities across America are responding to a Supreme Court ruling on a flag-flying program in the city of Boston with startlingly different moves: some are taking to heart the decision that banned viewpoint discrimination and others are doubling down on their pro-LGBT activism.
That’s according to Liberty Counsel, which fought on behalf of Hal Shurtleff and his Camp Constitution who protested the city’s discriminatory policy that allowed a wide variety of other belief systems to fly their flags on a city hall flagpole, but refused permission for the Christian flag to be flown.
WND reported at the time the high court publicly rebuked Boston in a unanimous opinion that said, “We conclude that, on balance, Boston did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech. That means, in turn, that Boston’s refusal to let Shurtleff and Camp Constitution raise their flag based on its religious viewpoint ‘abridged’ their ‘freedom of speech.'”
Now, Liberty Counsel is reporting that the city council in Bristol, Connecticut, has unanimously voted to allow only U.S. and state flags to be flown on municipal property. A similar vote came from Southington.
And Bristol Mayor Jeff Caggiano told The Bristol Press, “We don’t want to discriminate against anybody and we also don’t want to put the city in jeopardy for freedom of speech violations if we agree to fly one flag and not another. There was recently a case in Boston where this happened.”
But, Liberty Counsel reported, La Mesa, California, Mayor Mark Arapostathis apparently was ignoring the ruling.
The city was flying the rainbow LGBT flag again after a proclamation and proposal from Arapostathis making June “LGBTQ+ Month” to allow a “representative flag” to be flown all month.
But, Liberty Counsel reported, “The proposal to keep raising a flag every year ‘in honor of the LGBTQ community’ raised questions at the recent city council meeting whether the city should fly anything beyond standards representing the city, state and nation. Those opposing the proposal stated that the rainbow flag needlessly excluded other residents and makes the council a ‘flagpole gatekeeper’ and opens the city up to lawsuits.”
Liberty Counsel said other communities, Imperial Beach, National City and Chula Vista, also have adopted “Pride” month flag procedures, which if they do not also allow flags representing other beliefs would violate the First Amendment.
Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver said the decision is having an impact, and “The clear message from the Supreme Court is that government must not discriminate based on viewpoint.”
He said, “The government cannot favor one viewpoint and censor another. Every government should reconsider their flag policies in light of Shurtleff v. City of Boston. Government cannot censor religious viewpoints under the guise of government speech and yet some local governments are ignoring this ruling and setting themselves up for potential lawsuits.”
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