A Muslim-led local authority in Michigan, USA, has banned LGBTQ+ flags on city property.
Earlier this week, Hamtramck City Council approved a proposed “neutrality flag” resolution that effectively banned LGBTQ+, religious, ethnic, racial and political flags from being flown on city property.
According to local media, several speakers who addressed the council on Tuesday said they supported the resolution, and many applauded in agreement. About 125 also sent in written comments, with many against the proposal.
The resolution said:
“WHEREAS, the City of Hamtramck is one of the most diverse cities in the United States, in which we should proudly promote and embrace its diversity; and
“WHEREAS, the City must and will serve and treat its residents equally, with no discrimination, or special treatment to any group of people; and
“WHEREAS, the City has authorized in the past, the Human Relations Commission to install nations flags on the City flagpoles to represent the international character of the City, Resolution 2013- 102: and
“WHEREAS, each religious, ethnic, racial, political, or sexually oriented group is already represented by the country it belongs to; and
“WHEREAS, the City does not want to open the door for radical or racist groups to ask for their flags to be flown; and
“WHEREAS, this resolution does not in any way, shape or form infringe upon the fundamental right of an individual or business in the City of Hamtramck to engage free speech. Nor does this resolution limit speech by public employees provided that such employees engage in such speech in a protected time, manner and place.
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Hamtramck, Wayne County, Michigan, that the government of the City of Hamtramck does not allow any religious, ethnic, racial, political, or sexual orientation group flags to be flown on the City’s public properties, and that only, the American flag, the flag of the State of Michigan, the Hamtramck Flag, the Prisoner of War flag and the nations’ flags that represent the international character of our City shall be flown.”
In 2022, Hamtramck, which is only 2 square miles, appointed its first all-Muslim city council and mayor. The city is among the most diverse in Michigan.
Many told the council they believed limiting the types of flags allowed was a way to criticize the LGBTQ+ community and defied Hamtramck’s reputation as an inclusive place.
“This resolution, to me, feels like a thinly veiled attack on one flag,” said Darren Shelton, executive director of the city’s Planet Ant Theatre.
“We have to respect every human being,” said Bill Meyer, executive director of OneHamtramck LLC.
“I have a right to say I’m against the gay pride flag,” one man told the council.