'All about love': LGBTQ+ pride supporters rally to protest new Enfield flag policy
About 100 people rallied in Enfield Monday evening to protest what LGBTQ+ advocates say is a ban on flying the gay pride flag at town hall.
The rainbow flag used to fly at town hall during the month of June for two years under a resolution passed by the previous Town Council.
“It really is all about love and I think people need to remember that, that's what that flag shows,” Danielle Girard, vice president of Enfield PFLAG, said in an interview. “It's all about inclusion and it's about people.”
But the new Enfield Town Council passed a resolution earlier this month saying only certain flags could be flown at town buildings: flags representing the state and country, as well as the prisoner-of-war/missing-in-action flag.
Inside town hall Monday night, people addressed council members and sounded off on the new flag policy.
Resident Alyssa Suitter criticized the council.
"It’s embarrassing to say I graduated from this town," she said. "It’s embarrassing to say I still live here. It’s embarrassing to say I came back here for this to be representing me. Because it doesn’t."
Pamela Pasha thanked the town council, saying the new policy protects Enfield from lawsuits.
"They voted for protecting the taxpayers from the distinct possibility of negative repercussions," Pasha told the council. "When you say yes to one, you open yourself to having to say yes to all or face the negative and potentially dangerous consequences."
Enfield Mayor Ken Nelson is defending the new policy, approved by the council 6-5 earlier this month. He says the town is inclusive. He told NBC Connecticut that the previous flag policy was "discriminatory."
Nelson told Fox 61 that the new policy is a way to go "back to basics" and to avoid lawsuits.
“The greatest flag on the planet is that flag right there [the American flag], and that is the most inclusive flag there is, and we respect that," Nelson told Fox 61. "What’s great about that flag is if you disagree with me, you have a right to protest."
Council member Cynthia Mangini, who voted earlier this month against the new policy, said the goal should be to embrace diversity.
“People that want to have the flag flown genuinely have a desire to display their representation,” she said during the meeting. “And why it has to be met with such adversity really frightens me. Because it’s wrong. We need to be warm and caring, especially with members of our own community.”
In an interview, Girard said the new policy is a de facto ban on the pride flag, and could stop other local groups from requesting to fly their representation flags on holidays like Juneteenth.
The rainbow flag had not divided the town in the two years it was flown during June, Girard said.
“We've never had any negative feedback from it,” Girard said. “Having them take this away has caused" a lot of people to be upset.
Connecticut Public's Cassandra Basler, Dave Wurtzel and Eric Aasen contributed to this report.