Mayor, City Council Raise Concerns About Potential Lawsuits, Policies On Which Flags Can Be FlownBy Cindy Hsu

RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) Pride Month is celebrated in June, and the push is on to raise the Pride flag at City Hall in Rye, New York.

But that’s caused a fight as some supporters say the city is taking too long to decide.

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The Pride flag was created in 1978 in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Many homes display it, many stores do and I support it,” Rye resident Amy Sands said.

UPDATE: Rye City Council Votes To Fly LGBTQ+ Flag At City Hall For Pride Month

The Pride flag flew over New York’s state Capitol for the first time in 2019, but the fight to raise the rainbow flag at City Hall in Rye is still going on.

In May of 2020, a City Council member requested to raise the flag for the month of June on a municipal flag pole, but some on the council were concerned the city had no policy on which flags can or can’t be flown.

“The next month, someone walks in and says, ‘Hey you guys, I want to put up the Christian flag,'” Rye Mayor Josh Cohn said.

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Cohn says he and the City Council support LGBTQ+ rights but want to protect the city from potential lawsuits, so they hired a lawyer specializing in First Amendment rights to look into the issue.

High school students Odessa Meulbrook and Fiona Degnan are with their school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance and are among many fighting to get the flag flown.

“I just think that the City Council really needs to stop stalling because they’re showing a really bad impact on the LGBTQ youth,” Odessa told CBS2’s Cindy Hsu.

So far, nearly 500 people have signed an online petition in support of flying the Pride flag outside City Hall.

“Hesitating to raise the Pride flag when other towns in the county … nationally, this Pride flag is recognized without issue. I think it sends a message,” Fiona said.

The students say they want to change that message to one of acceptance and support of the LGBTQ+ community.

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The next City Council meeting is May 5, and the mayor is hoping they’ll have a decision on the Pride flag by then.

Cindy Hsu