Downey council votes to no longer fly LGBTQ+ Pride flag, adopts 'neutral' policy

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Friday, May 17, 2024
Downey City Council votes to not raise Pride flag at City Hall
Downey City Council passed on Tuesday a neutral flag policy which doesn't allow the progress pride flag to be raised at City Hall.

DOWNEY, Calif. (KABC) -- A three-year-old decision to fly the LGBTQ+ Pride flag each June outside Downey's City Hall has come to an end.

The City Council on Tuesday passed a "neutral" flag policy that doesn't allow the Progress Pride flag to be raised on city property.

"This is not progress. This is a step backwards for my city. And that's very unfortunate," said Mayor Mario Trujillo, Downey's first openly gay mayor.

This policy was brought to the City Council by Mass Resistance, a group that describes itself as a pro-family activist organization.

"We oppose all promotion of LGBT," ," said Arthur Schaper, field director for Mass Resistance. "Many residents have said that to us, and they are not supportive of Downey Pride either."

The policy states that the only flags allowed to fly at City Hall include the United States flag, the California state flag, the city flag, and the POW/MIA flag.

Invitations were sent out for the Pride flag raising ceremony scheduled for June 3, but that has now been canceled, according to the mayor.

"And that's what that flag told people in Downey, California -- you are accepted, no matter who you choose to love," Trujillo said. "So it's just a profound sense of disappointment."

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Target says they are making other plans to celebrate Pride Month, including having a presence at local Pride events in Minneapolis -- where the organization is headquartered -- and around the country.

Trujillo is also the co-founder of Downey Pride, which is celebrated in August.

"We are hopeful that we continue to get the support of Downey City Council," said Priscilla Rodriguez, chair of the Downey Pride Festival "And we still plan to go up in front of the Council and ask for their blessing."

In response to the vote, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn released a statement on X:

"I am disappointed in the Downey City Council's 3-2 vote to institute a Neutral Flag Policy rather than fly the Pride Flag during Pride Month, as they've done in the past. I worry about the message it sends to LGBTQ+ residents. Thankfully, the Pride Flag will still fly over Downey this June.

"My colleagues and I put in place a new policy last year to fly the Pride flag at all County facilities every June - including our eight county facilities in Downey. We raise the Pride Flag as a reminder of where we stand: no matter where in LA County they may live, LGBTQ+ residents have the unwavering support of their county government."