DUBLIN (KPIX 5) — A debate over the rainbow “pride” flag has left an East Bay city wondering how to be inclusive without opening a can of worms.
Everyday, the city of Dublin flies three flags in front of City Hall, one for the city, the state and, of course, the Stars and Stripes. But there is one flag that will not be waving there anytime soon: the rainbow flag signifying LGBTQ pride. At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilmember Shawn Kumagai proposed flying the flag throughout Pride Month in June.
“I didn’t know if it would be controversial, per se,” he said. “But I did know we needed to have the conversation.”
Kumagai, who is Dublin’s first openly gay councilmember, also asked for a proclamation declaring June LGBT Pride Month in the city and the council approved that unanimously. But they voted 3-2 against flying the rainbow flag, even though Kumagai amended his request to just a single day.
“I can’t even imagine why that would be a bad idea,” said Dublin commuter Chimene Holmes. “I mean, just for one day?”
But others could imagine why not. At the meeting one man held up an NRA flag and asked if the city would be willing to fly that over City Hall after the rainbow flag came down.
“I think flying this flag is a symbol and flying it would set a very dangerous precedent,” Dublin resident Brian Lotts told the council.
“Because if you fly it, a bunch of other groups will want to fly it,” Dublin visitor Rob Dorwin said.
Would not flying it make a statement on the opposite side? “Right,” Dorwin replied, “So either way it’s complicated.”
The city council ultimately decided to keep things simple and fly its regular three flags. But Kumagai says it’s also important for the city be able to welcome people with differing opinions and lifestyles.
“We need to figure out how we can express inclusivity in our growingly diverse community,” he said.
Kumagai said he was disappointed more gay people didn’t show up to support the pride flag. But he says many are still not confident they will be accepted.
Now, in response to all this, social media posts are calling for Dublin residents to display their own rainbow flags during Pride Month.