Gay Pride Banner Could Prompt South Louisiana Flag Limit
LAFAYETTE, La. - A south Louisiana official says he’s drafting a proposal to limit the types of flags that can be flown on government property after hearing complaints about a gay pride flag being hoisted temporarily in a local park.
Andy Naquin, a Lafayette City-Parish councilman, told The Daily Advertiser (http://bit.ly/12jcHDK) that he was contacted by a military veteran who was offended that a gay pride group flew the rainbow flag June 30 in Girard Park, which is Lafayette Consolidated Government property.
"I had to agree with him," Naquin said. "Government flag poles really should be meant to fly only government flags."
Naquin said he’s working with the city-parish attorney on drafting an ordinance, but did not immediately discuss the matter with other council members. He said he expects the ordinance would allow the flying of only American, Louisiana and Acadian/Lafayette Consolidated Government flags, and possibly Mardi Gras flags, on government property.
Korean War veteran Ray Green, who complained to Naquin, said he learned about the raising of the rainbow flag in the public park after a photograph and article appeared in The Daily Advertiser. Green he does not believe the flag should be flown on government property.
"I did not go overseas and fight for our country so that we could come back and be subject to something like that," Green said Friday. "Several of us (veterans) feel that the flying of this flag is a poke in the eye of a way of life."
Amanda Kelley, president of the Acadiana OUTspoken Alliance, a group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, said the proposed restriction "seems like a violation of freedom of speech."
Kelley said the rainbow flag was meant to mark June as LGBT pride month. She said it also was to celebrate the June 26 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidates a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits that are otherwise available to married couples.
"It wasn’t intended to insult or hurt anyone," Kelley said.
Green said it is gay pride group’s right to fly the flag, but not on government property. He asked what would happen if someone wanted to fly a Ku Klux Klan flag at Girard Park.
Participants of the June 30 gathering did not remove an American flag to hoist the rainbow flag. Kelley said Acadiana OUTspoken’s membership includes veterans.
"We fought for this country, too," she said. "It was in no way meant to be disrespectful."