Antioch council adopts new policy to allow flying of LGBTQ, other flags besides U.S., state, city and military flags

The LGBTQ rainbow flag flies at Antioch City Hall in June 2019 following council approval. Antioch Herald file photo.

But not just any other flag

By Allen Payton

In response to the controversy surrounding the council approving and the city displaying the LGBTQ rainbow “Pride” flag last June, the Antioch City Council directed staff to develop a flag policy. The council adopted it unanimously at their meeting on Tuesday night, Feb. 11. The policy allows other flags to be displayed at city hall in addition to the U.S., state, armed forces and city flags. (See related article).

The staff report included the following explanation for the policy: City of Antioch Flag Policy ACC021120

“The purpose of this policy is to establish that the flag of the United States of America (the ‘American Flag’), the California state flag (the ‘State Flag’), United States Armed Forces flags (‘Military Flags’), City of Antioch flag (‘Antioch Flag’), and other flags approved by an adopted resolution of the City Council (‘Other Approved Flags’) are welcome and authorized for display at Antioch City Hall and/or other City facilities.”

Dr. Jeffrey Klingler was the only member of the public to speak on the item.

“Well, I’m glad to see the city is considering a flag policy,” he said. “Nonetheless, I am adamantly opposed to non-government flags. The city…should not be in the business of endorsing non-government flags. They are just as likely to alienate…members of the community. Therefore, I suggest article three be replaced with a simple policy that the city only fly the federal, state and city flags.”

He then suggested “closing a couple of potential loopholes. Once a flag is approved, is a flag, by default always approved? Can a flag be flown for an indeterminant 31-day intervals? How often can an organization’s flag be flown on a city flagpole? Once a year or once a month?” he asked.

“Keep the city’s flagpoles as sources of unity,” Klingler concluded.

The new policy states, “The display of flags represents the City of Antioch’s official sentiments and the City may choose what it desires to publish and endorse on its flagpoles, provided it is consistent with the law. The City shall display commemorative flags only if authorized by the City Council as an expression of the City’s official sentiments. Any such authorization shall be given at a duly noticed meeting of the City Council. The City’s flagpoles are to be used exclusively by the City, where the City Council may display a commemorative flag as a form of government speech and expression. The City’s flagpoles are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression by the public.”

But not just any other flag will be allowed to fly at City Hall or on city property. The policy focuses on the council “considering public requests to display flags celebrating the efforts of nationally recognized civil rights movements that strive for equal rights and equal protection under the law for groups that have historically endured and sought to overcome unlawful and unjust discrimination within our country.”

The new policy requires public requests to display other flags, that they want flown for no more than 31 days at a time, be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office at least 45 days prior to the requested date of the flag raising and display. Those requesting the display of a flag provide it to the city.

Without discussion Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock made the motion to approve the policy with Councilman Lamar Thorpe seconding the motion and the council voted unanimously to adopt the flag policy.

the attachments to this post:

Rainbow flag at City Hall

City of Antioch Flag Policy ACC021120

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