The pride flag will not be flying high outside town buildings this year in Southington.
There was a heated debate Monday night at the Southington Town Council meeting. After hours of public opinion and debate, town councilors decided in a vote of 6-3 to approve an ordinance that will only allow the American flag, Connecticut flag, Southington flag and military flags to be flown on town property and inside schools.
Some spoke out against this, including a group of people advocating for the pride flag to be flown. Last year, Southington Pride did receive permission to fly the Pride flag at the town municipal building and have a ceremony.
Kat Caird, the communications chair for Southington Pride, said the pride flag is a powerful symbol to those who feel marginalized and it is important for young people to see it.
“It might be just a symbol to some, but it means the world to others and some if they were able to see a flag being raised in their childhood, it would have changed how long they chose to hide their true identity,” said Caird.
But part of the discussion shifted to more than just the pride flag. Last month in March, town councilors decided not to fly the Ukrainian flag. At the meeting, there was also concern from town council members that if they allow one flag, it could open the door to other flags.
“How inclusive do we want to be? Do we want to include the communist flag, do we want to include the confederate flag, what about religious flags, political flags?” said Tom Lombardi, a Republican town councilman.
Jim Morelli, one of the six council members who voted in favor of the ordinance to limit flags on town property, said these discussions started last year before Southington Pride submitted a proposal to fly its flag this year.
Morelli questioned who would ultimately decide which flags make the cut and which don’t.
“We have to have a committee, or a person, or a group to decide what flags are legitimate, what flags are not. In the end, that’s going to cost us a lot of money and in the end, it will divide our town,” said Jim Morelli, a republican town councilman. “This has nothing to do with the gay pride flag, it has everything to do with equality and fairness for everyone in Southington.”
Democratic Councilman Jack Perry proposed an amendment to allow the pride flag to be included with the list of flags allowed to be flown on Southington town property, but in the end, city council members voted 6-3 to limit the flags flown and not include the pride flag.
Southington pride members say there’s still 20 other Pride events throughout the month of May and they encouraged everyone in town to fly a pride flag at their own home or business.
“We’re going to move forward, have our other events and continue to support the LGBTQIA+ plus community the best way we can,” said Caird.