Democratic mayor blocks Pride flag being flown at city hall
A Democratic mayor in Pennsylvania is under fire after blocking the annual flying of the Pride flag from city hall.
Mayor Wally Scott of Reading, Pennsylvania, abruptly decided to cancel the event ahead of the city’s Pride celebrations on Monday (July 15), just hours before it was set to go ahead.
The mayor told ABC6 it would be improper to show support for the LGBT+ “movement” by flying the flag from City Hall, although other flags are regularly flown from the pole.
The city is home to around 88,000 people, with an established LGBT+ community and an annual Pride celebration.
The decision was branded “discriminatory” by the LGBT Center of Greater Reading, who hit out at the mayor.
Democratic mayor Wally Scott condemned for ‘unacceptable discrimination’
A statement from the group said: “What was supposed to be a proud and historical moment in history today for the City of Reading, the LGBTQ+ community and our allies, turned into a show of blatant, unacceptable discrimination.
“We were told the administration doesn’t support causes. Here’s a bit of education: we are NOT a cause. We are human beings protected by an anti-discrimination ordinance in the City of Reading.
“We are your teachers; your doctors; your dentists; your mechanic; your minister; your neighbor; your daughter; your son; your colleague.”
To protest the decision, the group is holding its own unofficial Pride flag outside City Hall on July 22, with hundreds of LGBT+ people and allies expected to turn out and wave rainbow flags.
LGBT+ people protest cancellation by waving rainbow flags outside City Hall
The event description explains: “Following Mayor Wally Scott’s last minute decision to halt our flag raising ceremony, we are asking the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters to join us at the next Reading City Council meeting.
“Please bring your rainbow flags and your voices to show Mayor Wally Scott that we are his constituents and we deserve to be represented!
“We also invite Reading businesses to fly rainbow flags at their businesses in solidarity.”
The decision was also condemned by the state’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who tweeted: “Calling on Mayor Scott to reconsider. Looking forward to attending @ReadingPride to affirm our administration’s strong support for LGBTQIA+ community in PA.?️??️? ”
The mayor is already set to leave office at the end of his term after being defeated by Eddie Moran in May’s Democratic primary.