Two California school districts banned the display of LGBTQ pride flags on Tuesday, amidst movements by organizations and municipalities to limit flag displays, often citing the surrounding controversy.
Districts in the Southern California city of Temecula and the Bay Area’s small town of Sunol made the decision to ban these flags this week.
Temecula passed a resolution prohibiting all flags except the U.S. and state flags, while Sunol specifically banned the LGBTQ pride flag.
Decision Sparks Controversy and Criticism in Educational Communities
Both decisions have resulted in widespread criticism. In Sunol, protesting residents have started the process to recall school board officials who voted in favor of the ban, as reported by The Mercury News.
Pride flags have been a minor but notable target of anti-LGBTQ activists, especially as legislation and violence against the LGBTQ community have significantly risen in recent years. Conservatives have pushed for bans on books with pro-LGBTQ messages, public drag performances, and have limited the availability of gender-affirming care.
In June, a town in Detroit banned pride flags, and a House bill attempted to do the same for VA hospitals. That bill passed a party-line vote in the House Appropriations Committee with all Republicans in support.
The Gilbert Baker Foundation, named after the flag’s creator, has tracked dozens of municipalities nationwide that have banned the pride flag display as of February.
“Make no mistake; right-wing groups want to roll back LGBTQ+ rights, and they’re starting with banning the Rainbow Flag,” foundation President Charley Beal said in a statement. “It’s part of a huge conservative trend to censor minority rights across America.”
“Already, bans have been reversed, but every month brings a new threat to LGBTQ+ rights and equality,” she continued. “We must remain vigilant. Dangerous wording can be added to any unrelated bills and go to a vote tomorrow.”
The American Civil Liberties Union has argued that bans on LGBTQ pride flags are unconstitutional and qualify as “viewpoint discrimination.” However, a challenge to a school or municipality’s pride flag ban has not been ruled by the Supreme Court.
With information from The Hill