Antioch Council to consider LGBT Pride month resolution, flying rainbow flag at city hall in June, during Tuesday night’s meeting

Will also hold budget study session before regular meeting begins

By Allen Payton

Following the unprecedented action taken by the Antioch School Board last week to recognize June as LGBTQ Pride Month and fly the rainbow “pride” flag at district offices and schools, the Antioch City Council will consider adopting a similar resolution at their meeting Tuesday night, May 28.

This isn’t the first time the council has adopted a resolution to recognize June as LGBT Pride Month, as they did so last year, as well. That resolution was approved on a 5-0 vote and signed by Mayor Sean Wright. But this year, for the first time, flying the rainbow flag at city hall has been included in the resolution.

According to Councilman Lamar Thorpe, it was requested to be included by Jack Rednour-Bruckman, who lives in Antioch “with her wife and three kids” and “is Executive Director of the Rainbow Center in Concord. The proposed language came from Jackie.”

She was also one of only two people who spoke at last week’s Antioch School Board meeting and supported their similar action.

“I’m not sure why the flag language was included in the actual resolution because it’s not enforceable,” Thorpe continued. “We could have easily flown the flag without the resolution.”

Asked how could city staff fly any other flag than the U.S., state or city flag without council approval, he responded, “I guess since they’ve never been asked to fly a flag is probably why they put the language in the resolution and have the council make the ultimate decision. Makes sense.”

When reminded that the MIA/POW flag has flown at city hall in the past, Thorpe responded, “Personally, I think it’s fine. If the American Legion requested their flag flown as part of their recent resolution in honor of their 100-year anniversary, I would have been fine with it.”

“I’ve supported all requests by citizens and groups for resolutions,” he added. “Don’t think I’ve ever voted ‘no’.”

Asked if this opens the door to the city flying other controversial flags, Thorpe responded, “I think the proclamation process is the process. But not for every little thing. It should be of national or state significance, like widely accepted traditions. Pride month, women’s history, black history, Latino, and/or education like Autism awareness, breast cancer, etc. But, not for individuals.”

“I’m just not sure we’ve had a proclamation that’s controversial,” he continued. “In my three years on the council no one has ever reached out to say don’t support a resolution for this or that group. The flag is merely an extension of a proclamation. It’s a symbol of an action we took.”

“I also believe that the city, however, should not bear the cost of the flag. The organization should supply the flag,” Thorpe added. “The U.S. flag is a symbol of our democratic republic. The same thing is true here. Flying the ‘pride’ flag symbolizes the city action to resolve the idea that we are a community open to the LGBTQ community.”

Asked if this takes the recognition to a new level, he responded, “From my perspective we took it to a new level a few years ago. The pride flag at this point is merely symbolic of our actions.”

“Those are just my feelings. Folks may have a different opinion,” Thorpe concluded.

Mayor Sean Wright said he wanted the flag to just be flown for one day. But that wasn’t acceptable to other council members and suggested asking City Manager Ron Bernal about who requested the flag flying be included in this year’s resolution.

“He spoke to each council member and I am not privy to his discussions with them,” he said.

Asked if this opens the city to flying other controversial flags, Wright responded, “That was why we did not fly the flag in previous years. Other city attorneys have argued that cities have discretion and can choose. I read a few other city attorneys’ recommendations and they run the gamut.”

An attempt during the weekend to reach Bernal for comment was unsuccessful.

The resolution reads as follows with the added language in this year’s language in bold:



WHEREAS, the City of Antioch has a diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community and is committed to supporting visibility, dignity and equality for all people in the community; and

WHEREAS, many of the residents, students, city employees, and business owners within the City of Antioch who contribute to the enrichment of our City are a part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning community; and

WHEREAS, various advancements have been made with respect to equitable treatment of lesbians, gay men, bisexual, transgender, and questioning persons throughout the nation, but there continues to be some opposition against people from this community and around the world making it important for cities like Antioch to stand up and show support for our residents who are affected; and

WHEREAS, several cities across the United States recognize and celebrate June as LGBT Pride Month; and

WHEREAS, June has become a symbolic month in which lesbian women, gay men, bisexual people, transgender people, and supporters come together in various celebrations of pride; and

WHEREAS, the rainbow flag, also known as the LGBT pride flag or gay pride flag, has been used since the 1970’s as a symbol of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender pride and LGBT social movements; and

WHEREAS, flying the rainbow flag at City Hall throughout the month of June further symbolizes the City’s celebration of diversity and support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning community.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, SEAN WRIGHT, Mayor of the City of Antioch, do hereby declare the month of June as LGBT Pride Month in the City of Antioch, and invite everyone to reflect on ways we all can live and work together with a commitment to mutual respect and understanding, and further, recognizes Pride Month by flying the rainbow flag at City Hall during the month of June.

MAY 28, 2019

The matter is the first item on the agenda, immediately following the Pledge of Allegiance, for the regular meeting that begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 200 H Street between W. 2nd and 3rd Streets in downtown Antioch. The public is allowed to speak on the matter before the council takes their vote. The meeting can also be viewed on Comcast Local Cable Channel 24 or online on the city’s website. Prior to that, the council will hold a General Fund Budget study session beginning at 5:15 p.m.

Please check back later for updates to this report.

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