I am writing in response to the March 8 letter, “Why city flag ordinance is needed.” The writer, Mr. Acker, proposed that the City of Delaware revise its flag and banner policy to limit flags (and, apparently, banners as well) flown on city light poles to the national, state and city flags. He purports that flying anything else would cause division in the city.
I disagree. A policy allowing commemorative flags or banners on city poles would be a public celebration of events, holidays, and observances that the city notes as worthy of recognition. Mr. Acker fears doing so could force the city to accept demands from organizations such as the KKK and neo-Nazi groups to fly flags on city poles. That can easily be avoided with careful wording of the new policy.
Such wording has already been proposed by members of the public and documented by another letter writer in the March 4 Gazette:
• Any party wishing to display a flag or banner must be a registered nonprofit.
• The organization must not be religious or political (because the city should never officially endorse one political party or one religion over another).
• Neither the group nor the flag or banner it proposes can promote any type of discrimination. (This would eliminate the possibility of KKK flags flying in Delaware.)
• Any group, occasion, or observance commemorated by the city in an official proclamation would be eligible to have banners flown during a designated time period if a local group that meets the above criteria requests it.
Mr. Acker stated that he feared such a policy would exclude “banners that support veterans from Delaware who gave their lives for our nation.” I’m not sure how he came to that conclusion. Such banners would easily fall under the above guidelines.
Finally, Mr. Acker also fears that such a policy would allow the city to fly the “homosexual flag.” (If I could insert an eye roll emoji in this letter, I would do so here.) He equates flying the Pride flag — a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community and a sign of hope for continued progress toward equality — to flags that spew hate and division. Pride flags and banners are divisive only for people who believe the LGBTQ+ population doesn’t deserve equal rights or respect.
Mr. Acker may not like to be reminded that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and nonbinary people and their allies actually live, work, volunteer and prosper in the city of Delaware. But we do, and we have appreciated that the city has recognized June as Pride Month in Delaware in official proclamations for the past two years. I don’t know what Mr. Acker has against us, but I suggest he put his personal prejudices aside, join the 21st century and accept that the queer population deserves to be treated with dignity.
Other communities such as Westerville and Worthington have figured this out. Delaware can too, if it wants to.