Newcastle City Council votes against raising Pride flag

NEWCASTLE, Wash. — For the last four years, the City of Newcastle has joined with cities across Washington to hang a Pride flag for the month of June.

But this year, the city council voted to forgo putting a Pride flag outside City Hall. At Tuesday’s city council meeting, council members voted 4-3 against a motion to raise a flag.

“When I became the mayor in January, I made a rule that we were not going to do proclamations,” said Mayor Robert Clark at the meeting. “So, if we say ‘you have to support this because we proclaimed it’ but certain people in the community say ‘no’, then we’re disserving a portion of the community.”

Councilmember Paul Carbonneau proposed the Pride proclamation.

“I did not sleep very well the night after that council meeting,” says Carboneau.

He tells KIRO 7, he was surprised not only by how fellow members voted, but by what they said during the meeting.

“If we raise one flag, we gotta raise everybody’s flag,” said Mayor Clark during the meeting. “We want a Hamas flag flying over the City of Newcastle? A MAGA flag? How ‘bout a Trump flag? Or an Antifa flag? We’re not going there folks. Not while I’m the mayor.”

Carbonneau says despite his disappointment in those comments, he still believes that Newcastle is an inclusive community and wants to invite the community to a local Pride event on June 18th.

Newcastle Pride Recognition

“We accept you. We love you for just the way you are,” says Carbonneau. “Just because we had elected leaders who said those things and decided not to raise the pride flag, that’s not how this community necessarily feels about that.”

In a statement to KIRO 7 News, Mayor Clark writes in-part, ‘If people want to celebrate pride month in their own way, I will cheer them on. I will not however, tell the rest of the community that they also must cheer them on and the government raising the flag would say that. I am aware that many people cannot (or will not) agree with me but I am firm in my beliefs.’

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