California school districts ban LGBTQ Pride flags

Two California school districts banned the display of LGBTQ pride flags on Tuesday as organizations and municipalities move to limit flags on display, often citing the controversy around them.

Districts in the Southern California city of Temecula and the Bay Area small town of Sunol banned the flags this week.

Temecula passed a resolution banning all flags except the U.S. and state flags, while Sunol specifically banned the LGBTQ pride flag. 

Both decisions have resulted in widespread criticism, with protesting Sunol residents starting the process to recall school board officials who voted for the effort, The Mercury News reported.

Pride flags have been a minor but notable target of anti-LGBTQ activists as legislation and violence against the LGBTQ community have increased significantly in recent years. Conservatives have pushed for bans on books with pro-LGBTQ messages, bans on public drag performances and 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 through the House Appropriations Committee with all Republicans supporting.

The Gilbert Baker Foundation, named for the flag’s creator, tracked dozens of municipalities nationwide that have banned the display of the pride flag 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.

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