Penn. mayor refuses to display LGBTQ flag, saying it represents a 'political movement'

Community members and groups are speaking out after a mayor called off a ceremony to raise an LGBTQ pride flag over city hall.

The flag was scheduled to be raised on July 15, in Reading, Penn. Before the event began, Mayor Wally Scott canceled it, saying that the flag “represents a political movement,” which is against city policy, according to WFMZ.

While Scott did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment, he told WFMZ that he has “nothing against the LGBTQ community.”

However, people were angry that he alluded to the movement as a cause, and the LGBT Center of Greater Reading released a statement in a Facebook post on Monday.

“We are NOT a cause. We are human beings protected by an anti-discrimination ordinance in the City of Reading,” the post reads. “We are your teachers; your doctors; your dentists; your mechanic; your minister; your neighbor; your daughter; your son; your colleague.”

People at the center were not the only one’s upset with the decision. Mark Detterline, who is an admissions counselor at Albright College, a private liberal arts college in Reading, said in a Tweet that Scott’s action is “hatred.”

“...Wally Scott took it upon himself to DENY the LGBTQ Flag from being flown outside of City Hall after City Council approved it today. That’s hatred,” it read.

He added in a follow-up tweet that Scott did not personally announce the cancellation, and sent the city council’s president, Jeff Waltman to do it. The city council did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.

In a tweet, a local journalist, Walter Perez with Channel 6 Action News said the event would have been a historic one. “It would have marked the very first time the pride flag would have been raised outside city hall,” he said, and asked the public what they think about the last-minute cancellation.

People had fairly mixed reactions, with some suggesting that raising the flag was about “equality and civil rights,” and others disagreeing. “It should absolutely fly,” one Twitter user wrote. “This is about equity and civil rights.”

Others suggested that only the U.S. flag should be hanging outside city hall, and government buildings aren’t the right place to represent other movements.

This isn’t the first time authorities have demanded removal of a pride flag. On July 1, the Arizona Legislative Council removed a flag that had been displayed by the Secretary of State, claiming that it was a “non-conforming display.”

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