Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman inaugurated Pride Month by flying pride flags from his office balcony at the state Capitol but hours later they were taken down by state employees. The reason argued is that they violate state law on “unauthorized flags” on Capitol grounds. That provision was passed last year by the state Republican Party.
The budget provision prohibits any flag other than the American flag, Pennsylvania’s state flag or a flag honoring missing American soldiers from flying over the state Capitol building or Capitol grounds, according to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.
According to WXPI.com, the Democratic Senate candidate acknowledged that the pride flags violated the law in a statement made Tuesday, saying “The LGBTQIA+ flags that I fly from my office are technically breaking a law.”
Happy #Pride2021 !
This flag from my office is technically breaking a law. Yet, it’s perfectly legal to discriminate against the LGBTQIA+ community in PA.
This must change.
We must *never* stop pushing for Equal Protection Under The Law in Pennsylvania. 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ pic.twitter.com/3gqN8ByA0r
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) June 1, 2021
However, he said he felt disappointed by the removal made on the very start of Pride Month. “I can’t say I am surprised, but I am deeply disappointed that the flags were removed, on the literal start of Pride Month,” Fetterman said.
Fetterman added that more than a strict following of a law on flags, the action suggests an act of discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community. “But what’s even more disappointing and angering is that the Republicans in Pennsylvania can quickly come up with legislation to take down the flags, but not to ensure that Pennsylvania law explicitly protects the LGBTQIA+ community from discrimination.”
Equal protection must never stop
“We must never stop pushing for equal protection under the law in Pennsylvania and across the country,” he said.
Fetterman has been a longtime supporter and ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. In 2013, when same-sex marriage was still banned in Pennsylvania, Fetterman ignored the state law and officiated the first same-sex wedding in Allegheny County. Fetterman ended up officiating over two dozen more same-sex weddings before the ban was finally overturned.
In February He announced formally his candidacy for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat in 2022.