Clifton to vote on raising LGBT rainbow flag for pride month
CLIFTON — A rainbow flag supporting, lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender residents of Clifton could soon be raised along with the American flag at City Hall.
The City Council is expected to vote tonight on whether or not to raise the rainbow flag as part of June's LGBT pride month observation. The LGBT advocacy group, Garden State Equality, began urging the city council to approve the measure last month, according to NJ Advance Media.
The 2010 Census shows that 243 same-sex couples lived in Clifton that year, making it the second highest in Passaic County, following Paterson, which had 290 same-sex couples, the NJ Advance Media article states.
In a post on the Clifton Pride Flag Raising Facebook group, JoAnne Nikovits MacBeth posted a plea to city council members.
"Please do not let the loud voices of a vocal MINORITY stop you from raising the Rainbow Flag for Gay Pride. Clifton, as the United States in general, is an inclusive society," MacBeth wrote. "As we honor the heritage of a number of our citizens by raising flags for their country of origin, so should we too do this for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters who still must struggle every day with discrimination. A yes vote says, 'they're here, they're queer, we're used to it.'"
Former council member Mary Sandrakula posted in the Facebook group that the city's request for an application was a "delay tactic" to hold up the vote.
City Manager Nick Villano said when the issue was first raised, he was was away in Arizona for his daughter’s graduation.
"When I returned to work on May 17, the day of the council meeting, we celebrated Youth Day, and I did not have sufficient time to check with my Department Heads for any conflicts," Villano said Wednesday. "I notified the event coordinators of same, and I assured them that it would be on tonight’s agenda."
Although no formal application is required to request that the flag be raised, a request does need to be submitted in writing, Villano said.
If the city approves the vote, it will join several other New Jersey towns such as Newark, Atlantic City and Jersey City that have already raised rainbow flags in support of the LGBT community.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.