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The LGBTQ+ flag will fly above the Huntington Beach City Hall every year from the third week of May to the end of June after the City Council agreed Monday to let it fly alongside the United States and California flags during Pride month.
The council voted 6-0 to approve a resolution to that effect, also recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride month. Councilman Erik Peterson was absent.
Mayor Kim Carr, who submitted the resolution for consideration with Councilman Dan Kalmick, said the resolution is not meant to be exclusionary but to actually bring people together.
“When I talked about how the Pride flag represented unity and community, what it really meant as I was thinking about it was freedom. That’s the freedom to be who you want to be with no shame, no discrimination and to be accepted,” Carr said. “If it just means having that flag there for about four weeks, what’s the harm in that?”
Kalmick said that raising the Pride flag is Huntington Beach’s opportunity as one of the largest Orange County cities to show support for a regularly marginalized community.
“This is a very positive thing and it’s not divisive, it’s not negative. The Pride flag is love,” Kalmick said. “It’s time we show our support to our fellow residents who don’t see themselves in City Council.”
Councilwoman Barbara Delgleize said that creating an inclusive spirit can have economic benefits as the city hopes to financially recover from the pandemic.
“We have an opportunity this summer to knock it out of the park in so many ways. We can fill our hotels, we can fill our beaches and our restaurants,” Delgleize said. “We could really do it and I think this kind of spirit is what could make the difference.”
The majority of public commenters at Monday’s meeting supported the resolution with many arguing it’s important that members of the LGBTQ community feel represented and accepted by the city.
One commenter called the resolution divisive, political pandering and unnecessary.
“I would like to beg the council to please focus and do the job you were elected to do, which is to oversee public safety, financial solvency and infrastructure for all citizens of Huntington Beach,” the commenter said. “Frankly, I’m embarrassed of Huntington Beach to even consider such an idea.”
Last year, the Irvine City Council voted to annually raise the Pride flag from Harvey Milk Day on May 22 through the end of June. Council members also voted to establish a policy to determine how the council could permit other commemorative flags.
Fullerton, Anaheim, Santa Ana and Laguna Beach are among other Orange County cities that have raised Pride flags at their city halls in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride month.
Orange County Fair officials received backlash for their decision to raise an LGBTQ+ flag in 2019 at the request of former board member Andreas Meyer, who is gay.
After a year-long debate, the governor-appointed Fair Board voted 6-1 to keep flying the flag.
Anthony Robledo is a reporting intern for Voice of OC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AnthonyARobledo