Pride flag won't fly over Dublin City Hall, vote causes contentious debate among residents

Amanda del Castillo Image
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Pride flag won't fly over Dublin City Hall
The City of Dublin will recognize June as LGBTQ Pride Month, but it won't fly a Pride flag over City Hall.

DUBLIN, Calif. (KGO) -- The City of Dublin will recognize June as LGBTQ Pride Month, but it won't fly a Pride flag over City Hall.

The City, State, and American flag will remain the only three displayed on the municipal flagpoles at the Dublin Civic Center.

At Tuesday's city council meeting, Councilman Shawn Kumagai requested the city consider proclaiming June 2019 as LGBTQ Pride Month, and requested the city consider flying a rainbow flag at City Hall.

The five-member council unanimously supported the proclamation.

However, in a 3-to-2 vote, city leaders rejected Councilman Kumagai's request to fly a Pride flag, even for one day.

Many Dublin residents in attendance said that outcome was unexpected.

"It seems like we're being told, 'Yeah, we like you guys as our neighbors and everything, and we don't have any animosity towards you, but we don't actually want to recognize you as being a group,'" Jeannine Sullivan said.

She's lived in Dublin for 21 years.

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Beyond being voted down, Sullivan said the night's public comment period took an unexpected and disappointing turn.

Some residents questioned whether other groups, religious or social, would be allowed to fly their flags.

"What about the Confederate flag? The Black Lives Matter flag? The Communist flag?" one resident asked publicly.

One man asked the city to consider flying an NRA flag. He held the flag up and explained the NRA has also been discriminated against, just as the LGBTQ community.

Two people spoke about rumors to add another letter to the LGBTQ acronym.

"And that is the letter 'P' for 'pedophile,'" one man said.

"It really is discouraging to think that people truly think that about our community, because that's not what we're about," Sullivan told ABC7 News. "We don't want pedophiles in our community any more than anybody else does. We have kids."

She emphasized, "There's no 'P' in LGBTQIAA. Any of the letters. That's not a thing. It's not on the way. It's not anything we're fighting for."

The acronym is short for: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and Ally.

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Dublin resident Bobby Khullar said some speakers were out of line.

"I don't support that at all, whatsoever," he said.

However, Khullar said he understands the underlying debate.

"Everyone has the same rights to that flagpole," he said. "And if there are some guiding documents that state that, and we can have other people fill that out and have their flags represented as well... awesome."

Currently, the city does not have a policy regarding flags, and he said council simply debated that point.

"I am 100% in favor of LGBTQ rights, and I support that 100%," Khullar said. "There's just no guiding documents to support anybody else."

Dublin Mayor David Haubert told ABC7 News in an e-mail, "Dublin is an inviting and inclusive community and I try to do a lot to drive that throughout our DNA. As Mayor I signed onto the National Mayors Against Discrimination of LGBTQ several years ago. Locally we have a movement called 'Dubversity' dedicated to celebrating our diversity."

He said people need to keep in mind that all people deserve respect and inclusiveness.

"Nothing has changed with the decision not to use the municipal flagpoles to fly the rainbow flag," Mayor Haubert said.

He continued, "I have great friends and family members in the LGBTQ community that I love and support. And I will always fight to protect them. But we need to find ways that also respect how others feel and I am committed to doing that."

Councilman Kumagai, who made the initial requests to council, told ABC7 News, "Being an openly-gay man and the first openly LGBTQ elected official in Dublin, I understand that we still have some work to do. And part of the reason I put this item forward is to start the dialogue."