Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Feds Dispute that Rainbow Flag Is On Federal Land

An early posting here described the milestone of the Rainbow Flag flying officially on Federal land as part of the Stonewall National Monument in New York, NY. Since then, there has been questions by the Federal Government about if the flag is actually flying on Federal land. 

Gay City News reports:

What should have been a celebration dedicating the raising of the Rainbow Flag at the Stonewall National Monument in Greenwich Village on October 11 at noon turned into another attack on LGBTQ people by the Trump administration in a week full of such attacks. When it saw the pre-publicity on the ceremony, the National Park Service under Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Department of the Interior worked to certify that the flagpole adjacent to Christopher Park was not technically on federal land so that no Rainbow Flag would be flying on US government property.

The Washington Post reports:

The National Park Service [NPS] agreed to [fly the rainbow flag], providing [one] that went up Sept. 28, and it worked with activists to put on an event commemorating the act on Wednesday [Oct. 11], which was also National Coming Out Day.

By Friday evening [Oct. 6], according to Ken Kidd, one of the event organizers, the NPS flag that had been flying alongside the rainbow flag was taken down “under the cover of darkness,” and a New York City Parks flag was raised in its place. The agency official who had offered to speak at the celebration, Barbara Applebaum, canceled, citing a scheduling conflict.

Joshua Laird, commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor, said in an interview Wednesday that Interior Department officials had made “an inquiry” late last week to his office to determine whether the rainbow flag would be the first one to fly on the grounds of a national monument. But NPS officials determined that the flagpole was on city property, rather than the 7.7-acre patch of land in Christopher Park that constitutes the monument itself.

Laird emphasized that the rainbow flag was never removed and that the National Park Service has donated it to the city. He said that Interior Department officials in Washington did want to know whether “it was accurate” that the rainbow flag would set a precedent by flying on federal property but that he would not describe administration officials as raising “a concern” about it. The Department of Interior did not respond to a request for comment.

Click here for the full story.