A city near Detroit has banned Pride flags from flying on public property. The City Council of Hamtramck, Michigan voted unanimously against the Pride flag after what were reportedly a contentious few months that culminated in a three-hour public comment period.
The entire Hamtramck City Council is Muslim, as are about 50% of city residents. The Detroit Free Press reported that councilmembers argued that while LGBTQ+ people are welcome in the city, flying the Pride flag would disrespect the religious freedom of others.
The policy may violate state law and will leave trans students at “risk of being disowned, kicked out, and even harmed,” one student said.
“We want to respect the religious rights of our citizens,” said Councilman Nayeem Choudhury. “You guys are welcome… [but] why do you have to have the flag shown on government property to be represented? You’re already represented. We already know who you are… By making this [about] bigotry… it’s making it like you want to hate us.”
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Mayor Amer Ghalib added, “We serve everybody equally with no discrimination but without favoritism.”
The resolution was introduced by Mayor Pro Tem Mohammed Hassan. “You guys are the ones making problems,” Hassan said at the meeting. “Please don’t threaten us… I’m the elected official… I’m working for the people, what the majority of the people like.”
The Free Press said that most of the public comments opposed the resolution. One woman wore a clown nose and made a sarcastic speech calling for the town to change its slogan to say straight people are welcome. She ended by passionately kissing a woman who stood beside her.
The resolution banning the Pride flag also banned flags with political or racist messaging.
Hamtramck is in the district of state Sen. Stephanie Chang (D), who released a statement in support of the LGBTQ+ community after the flag was banned.
“To Hamtramck LGBTQ+ community members and their families — please know that you have many allies throughout the city and state, and that includes me as your state senator. You are loved, you are welcome, and you are valued. Hamtramck has had a long history of being a place of hope and opportunity for people of all backgrounds.”