DUBLIN, Calif. (KTVU) - There is strong reaction from the LGBTQ community after a Bay Area city's controversial decision to not fly the gay pride flag. The East Bay city of Dublin will not fly the rainbow flag over city hall during Pride next month. The decision came after several residents spoke out against the idea.
The City of Dublin prides itself on unity and is touted as one of the best places to raise a family but a move from the city council has some residents questioning that notion.
“As a gay man and growing up through the marriage equality fight and serving in the military under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I know we have some work to do in this area,” said Dublin City Councilmember Shawn Kumagai.
Kumagai is the first openly gay council member in Dublin. He proposed raising the LGBTQ flag at City Hall for pride month. It’s a tradition in other cities across the Bay Area including San Francisco. However, when the request came before the Dublin City Council Tuesday night, the response caught many people off guard.
“If you agree to fly the rainbow flag, can we fly the Confederate flag, the Black Lives Matter flag, a Communist flag?,” said one resident.
"At the end of the day, I believe there is another letter that to the end that is being propagated actually at our state capital right now and that is 'p' for pedophile,” said another resident.
One couple out and proud Wednesday at City Hall called the comments "hateful" and "hurtful.”
“I feel angry,” said Dublin Resident Maria Ceremello. “I came out of there steaming, swearing. It's unreal people are against this when it's just a flag flying for a month. It's not right.”
“It wasn't fun,” said Dublin Resident Jeannine Sullivan. “I’m not surprised living here your whole life. You know it's there but I had hoped we had gotten better since then.”
Mike Grant has been a resident of Dublin for 30 years and owns Guns Unlimited. He brought his NRA flag to the meeting and said it’s not about hate but if the rainbow flag can fly, so should his flag.
“I’ve been discriminated against for 41 years as a federal firearms dealer by the Democrats,” said Mike Grant of Dublin. “They don't like guns. I'm in the same group as they are.”
The council ultimately decided the public flagpole should be reserved for federal, state and city flags only.
“We would like to show that we love them and embrace them with all our heart,” said Olga Mac of Dublin.
Some community members are now organizing a grassroots campaign to fly rainbow flags at their homes.
The councilman suggested flying the pride flag for one day in June and that too got shot down. The council did support a proclamation for Pride month. City staff is now considering coming up with a formal flag flying policy.