A proposal to fly the LGBT pride flag in downtown Mountain View in June received the City Council's blessing, but not without some push-back from opponents who argued it would unfairly promote a political agenda.
In a proposal brought to the City Council on May 3, Councilman Chris Clark asked his colleagues to allow the rainbow flag -- a symbol of gay pride for nearly 40 years -- to be flown outside City Hall for about two weeks in June. That month is LGBT Pride Month, and Clark also asked the council to issue a proclamation marking the event.
The idea drew a backlash from public speakers as well as Councilman John Inks. While avoiding the politics surrounding gay rights, critics argued that displaying the flag meant Mountain View was taking a stance on a political issue. If the city allowed this, then other political groups would surely want their own flags flown in the Civic Center Plaza, according to their arguments.
"What if a group wanted to celebrate heterosexual marriage and family values? Is that appropriate to put on a flagpole?" Inks said. "Why raise a flag for this? It's kind of divisive, as you heard from some speakers tonight."
The debate was nothing new for Mountain View. Similar concerns were aired in 2014, when then-mayor Clark, the city's first openly gay City Council member, made a similar proposal. At the time, the council voted 5-1 to allow the pride flag to be flown for a similar period in June.
After a lapse in 2015, Clark returned on Tuesday to ask his council colleagues to fly the flag a second time. He and other supporters argued the flag represents values the city should uphold.
"This flag symbolizes diversity and inclusivity," Clark said, pointing out his request was nothing different than what the council had approved two years earlier.
The council approved flying the pride flag in a 6-1 vote, with Inks opposed.