Target: City Councilman Andy Naquin of Lafayette, Lousiana
Goal: Denounce plans to ban rainbow flags from public property
In the city of Lafayette, Louisiana, City Councilman Andy Naquin has come under fire for a bizarre proposal that would ban rainbow flags associated with the gay community from flying on any public property. Typically, the main regulation for the flying of flags on public property is that any state, city, or other flag must fly below the national flag. Other than that, public property often features flags of cultural significance to the community, like Irish flags on St. Patrick’s Day, Chinese flags around Chinese New Year, or Italian flags in Italian-American areas. Naquin has stated that his proposal was inspired by the complaint of a Korean War veteran who saw a rainbow flag (celebrating Gay Pride Month) in a park.
The veteran allegedly said, “I did not go overseas and fight for our country so that we could come back and be subject to something like that…the flying of this flag is a poke in the eye of a way of life.” There’s no doubt that we’re all thankful for the service of this veteran, but his logic is flawed. If the city was unable to fly any flag that anyone didn’t like, it is doubtful they would have anything to hoist up public flag poles. In the south, even the national flag may be objectionable to a small minority that prefers the St. Andrew’s Cross used by the Confederacy during the Civil War. Thus, the alleged premise for Naquin’s proposal falls flat, and it seems to have little justification other than outright bigotry.
Naquin’s proposal would leave exceptions for several other types of flags, including the Acadian flag (Lafayette was founded by French Cajuns who had been exiled from Acadia) and the Mardi Gras flag. The justification for this is that these flags have cultural significance, yet the rainbow flag also has cultural significance to gays and lesbians in Lafayette, as well as their family and friends. Is the flag of a small and historically persecuted American community more offensive to the public than the flag of a foreign province, or a flag celebrating drunkenness and partying?
It seems that Councilman Naquin believes so, but the public outrage he has faced from his local community suggests that the denizens of Lafayette are not the bigots Naquin believes them to be. Please sign the petition below to stand with thousands of people from Lafayette, and condemn Naquin’s proposal.
Dear Councilman Naquin:
I am writing to condemn your recent proposal to ban the flying of gay pride flags in your city of Lafayette, Louisiana. Public flagpoles do not exist solely to fly national, state, and city flags; cities throughout the country, including your own, regularly fly flags of cultural significance to the people of the area.
A single complaint should not be the litmus test for silencing an entire community. While there are grounds to ban hateful flags from public property, like the Nazi swastika or the Soviet hammer and sickle, the rainbow flag celebrates the pride of a community, not hatred or animosity towards anyone else. There is no logical reason to ban the rainbow flag, just as there is no reason to ban the Acadian flag or the Mardi Gras flag, both of which you wish to allow.
The public response to news of your proposal suggests that you’ve misunderstood the makeup of your constituency. Along with thousands of Louisianians, I demand that you withdraw your proposed law and apologize for your attempt at censorship.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mktp via Flickr