California city bans non-government flags, angering LGBTQ groups

Author of measure calls LGBTQ flag 'divisive'

Voters in California's conservative Huntington Beach approved a measure that would restrict all non-government flags from being flown on city property, prompting backlash from LGBTQ advocates.

Measure B, authored by Huntington Beach City Councilman Pat Burns, passed with more than half of the city's vote, according to the latest tally on the county's registrar website.

The measure, for which voters cast their ballots on Super Tuesday, will prohibit breast cancer awareness, Pride, Confederate and all other non-U.S flags on city property. Burns told Fox News Digital in an interview that the measure was not meant to be discriminatory against any group, but to encourage residents to unite under a common American identity. Most of the backlash Burns said he has received has been from LGBTQ advocates.


Pride flag

Voters in Huntington Beach, California, approved a measure that will prohibit breast cancer awareness, Pride, Confederate and all other non-government flags on city property.

"I'm against the identity politics, I think it's divisive," Burns said Friday. "I think it's demeaning to be honest, that flag, that I find is so insulting to LGBTQ. And I know that they support it, but in my mind, it's demeaning that they need some kind of special recognition to feel like they're part of our community. People are equal and those kinds of things are divisive." 

The city has previously flown the rainbow flag during Pride month over the last two years, Burns said. He added it had not been a major part of the city's aesthetics prior to the measure. 

Only the U.S. flag, the State of California flag, the County of Orange flag, the City of Huntington Beach flag, the POW-MIA flag, the six Armed Forces flags and the Olympic flag during the Summer Olympic Games can be mounted on city property under the new measure.


Huntington Beach, California

Progressive groups in Huntington Beach fired back in response to the measure's passage. (Mark Rightmire/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

"I love differing opinions. I love checks and balances. That's what makes us so great that we can have different voices, in society, but I just don't think it's our place as a city government, like, to play those identity politics," Burns said.

Progressive groups in the community fired back at the measure's passage. Peg Coley, the executive director of the LGBTQ Center Orange County, said in a statement to the media that the Huntinton Beach City Council is "run by a hateful majority whose only interest is advancing an agenda of intolerance for minority communities, including LGBTQ+ individuals."

"The pendulum always swings back and history is the harshest judge, but informed votes are the very best prevention," the statement read.

However, the council can still vote to approve certain flags to be flown through a unanimous vote.

Last year, a city in Michigan also banned Pride flags on city property. Several other cities in New York and Connecticut enacted similar policies in 2022. 

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