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LGBT Groups Join Call to Remove Confederate Flag From Public Spaces

LGBT Groups Join Call to Remove Confederate Flag From Public Spaces


More than two dozen have signed on to an open letter saying the flag is a symbol of racism and has no place on government property.

More than two dozen LGBT groups have signed on to an open letter calling for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from public spaces.

"The Confederate battle flag and versions of the same do not stand for heritage," says the letter, posted online today by the Human Rights Campaign. "It is, as South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said, 'a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally racist past.' In the America of 2015, it does not belong on state or federal property, and it should not be flown in a place of honor as a part of any state flag."

After the killing of nine African-Americans by a white gunman at a church in Charleston, S.C., Haley this week agreed that the battle flag should no longer fly at the state capitol, as it has since 1962. Its display beginning that year ostensibly marked the centennial of the Civil War (which began in 1861) but was seen by many as a sign of resistance to the black civil rights movement. Several other Southern states have state flag designs influenced by the battle flag or other Confederate banners, and Mississippi's state flag directly incorporates its image. Some states permit use of the flag's image on license plates.

It will take an act of the legislature to remove the flag from South Carolina's capitol, but in the meantime the LGBT groups are joining widespread opposition to Confederate imagery on government grounds. "As organizations that stand for equality and justice for all people, we are united in our opposition to the usage of such offensive and violent symbols," the letter continues. But it also points out the need to change not just symbols but hearts, minds, and policies: "We also stand committed to addressing the hard truths that divide us, to finding solutions for the inequities facing people of color, and to ensuring access to fairness and to justice for all."

Signatories include national groups such as HRC, GLAAD, Lambda Legal, the National LGBTQ Task Force, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, and PFLAG, plus several local and regional groups, with three from South Carolina: the state's affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, SC Equality, and South Carolina Black Pride.

Read the letter here.

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