Cleveland suburb avoids flying rainbow flag beneath Old Glory

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com June 18 2003 12:00 AM ET

The installation of a new flagpole outside the city hall of the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood has enabled city officials to avoid flying a gay-pride flag beneath the U.S. flag. "We are trying to be responsive to the gay community," said Mayor Madeline Cain. The Lakewood city council agreed two weeks ago to fly the rainbow-hued banner to recognize Lakewood's gay community and emphasize the value of diversity. Councilman Denis Dunn said he expected the banner to fly on the same flagpole as the U.S. flag and a banner commemorating American prisoners of war. Since then, Cain said, her office has been inundated with calls of protest. Cain described the new flagpole as an inspiration that will allow the city to fly flags from ethnic groups and others who seek special recognition. "Let's preserve the dedicated pole for the U.S. flag and the POW flag," Cain said.

"Flying the [rainbow] flag was a victory," said David Smith, executive director of the 4,000-member Lesbian/Gay Community Service Center of Greater Cleveland.