While other communities in the state have raised the Pride flag in honor of Pride Month festivities, officials in suburban Buffalo Grove have not, and some residents are calling on officials to change their stance on the issue.
More than three dozen residents attended a village board meeting on Monday, with many wearing Pride gear and carrying rainbow flags. The residents showed up to air their frustrations about leaders declining to raise the flag at Village Hall.
“(We want) for the board to understand what a big deal it is for the community to raise the flag. Other communities are doing it,” Carolyn Pina of the Pinta Pride Project said.
Pinta pointed to other nearby communities that have raised the Pride flag at public buildings. In suburban Northbrook, the Pride flag has been waving at Village Hall since the start of the month.
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“It’s just about who you want to love, and who you are as a person,” youth activist Hanna Osharow said.
Former Village Board Member Jeffrey Berman argues that raising the Pride flag could open the door for other organizations to make the same requests.
“Today it’s rainbows. Next it could be a swastika, the ‘stars and bars,’ a right to life flag. You don’t know,” he said. “And once you say it’s a public forum, you don’t have the right to judge the content of the message. When you talk about opening government property for private messages, you’re talking about the First Amendment.”
Pinta says that other officials have brought up the fear of lawsuits and other flag requests as part of the reason for not putting up the Pride flag, but newly elected town clerk Kristal Larson supported activists in their push to raise the flag, thanking them for support in helping her become the first transgender elected official in Lake County.
“I think it’s pretty clear in this case. The federal, state and county governments, and numerous municipalities are flying flags,” she said. “There is no controversy.”
No decision has yet been reached on whether to raise the flag.