- The city of Hamtramck, Michigan, banned LGBTQ+ flags from all publicly owned flagpoles.
- The decision sparked debate around freedom of religious expression in the city.
- Detroit City FC described the council’s move as “inexcusable” in a Twitter statement.
The city of Hamtramck, Michigan, has banned LGBTQ+ flags from all publicly owned flagpoles, The Associated Press reported.
The decision, announced in a lengthy council meeting, sparked a debate around discrimination and religious expression in the city, which elected a Muslim-majority council in 2015 — the first city in the US to do so, per The Guardian.
The city had built up a reputation for its liberal values, so the move to ban the Pride flag — which some council members said clashed with the beliefs of some Muslims in the area — left many citizens appalled, The Guardian reported.
“We want to respect the religious rights of our citizens,” council member Nayeem Choudhury said.
When the meeting opened up to public comments, one woman protested the move by kissing a woman standing next to her, per The AP.
“You guys are welcome,” Choudhury said, adding “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.”
The former Hamtramck mayor Karen Majewski said that there was “a sense of betrayal” following the move, per The Guardian.
But Dawud Walid, director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, argued that Hamtramck’s flag policy didn’t discriminate against any particular group, according to The AP.
“If there was one group that was not being granted access to something while others were then we would have a problem,” Walid said.
In a letter posted to Twitter, Detroit City FC, a professional soccer team based in Hamtramck, described the council’s decision as “inexcusable.”
—Detroit City FC (@DetroitCityFC) June 14, 2023
The club said that “Pride flags send a powerful message that all are welcome and that the community values diversity.”
The team urged the council to reconsider their decision, saying that such actions have the “intent of further marginalizing already marginalized members of our community.”
Local businesses and residents are reportedly not banned from flying Pride flags on their private property.