The mayor of Reading, Pennsylvania blocked city council and city employees from raising a rainbow flag over city hall, saying that it was emblematic of a political movement.
Just minutes before the pride flag was set to be raised, Mayor Wally Scott ended the plans, which were to have the flag fly from Monday through Sunday in recognition of Reading’s pride celebration, the Reading Eagle reports. Reading is a city of almost 90,000 people located in the southeastern portion of the state.
City council president Jeffrey Waltman said when he found out about the mayor’s decision, he didn’t have much time to talk him out of it. Waltman said he tried to no avail to convince Scott to compromise and allow the flag to be flown for even just a few hours.
“He has concerns for flying a flag for one specific cause because it could raise questions,” Waltman said. “I didn’t even have time to debate that with him.”
“The mayor stated he supports the group, the cause but had concerns about raising the flag,” Waltman added.
Acting managing director Osmer Deming explained that the mayor believes flying the flag would be against city policy because it represents a political movement.
“The mayor’s position is that he does not support flags being up that support political movements and he views that as a political movement,” Deming said.
The group who gathered for the ceremony were disappointed in the decision, and one city council member suggested the crowd march while carrying the flag to an area of town where the mayor is known to frequent, although Scott was not present.