Pride flag raised at city hall after Newcastle City Council reverses decision

NEWCASTLE, Wash. — The Newcastle City Council reversed their decision to raise the Pride flag at city hall.

On Tuesday night, the council voted 4-3 after hours of public comment and debate.

Deputy Mayor Pratima Lakhotia flipped her vote to be in favor with the flag raising, after voting against it at the June 4 city council meeting.

“As a city, we decided not to do any proclamations this year because we did not want to leave out any minority groups. Our city is made up of many minority groups. We wanted everyone to feel equal,” Lakhotia added. “A majority of Newcastle wanted this and I think as a councilmember, it’s my duty to you know, respect the majority.”

Two weeks ago, council members voted 4-3 against a motion to raise a flag.

“To have the city council intentionally choose to no longer support a slice of the community leaves us all in a place of fear and uncertainty,” said Ginger Chien, who is the chair of PFLAG Bellevue/Eastside.

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.

Councilmember Paul Charbonneau proposed the Pride proclamation.

“It’s visibility, it’s pride, it’s a community. It’s the LGBT+ community, it’s a symbol of love,” said Corrinalyn Guyette, President of the Eastside Pride Pacific Northwest.

On Tuesday, dozens of LGBTQ+ members rallied at Lake Boren Park to make their voices heard.

“When they’re not willing to raise that flag, it’s pretty much shutting out an entire community and we don’t feel supported,” said Guyette.

The crowds marched to Newcastle City Hall to speak out at the city council meeting.

They were met with church groups waving the American flag.

“We have one flag and the other side wants equality and that’s what this flag represents,” said resident Lance Davis.

Crowds packed into the meeting, filling the room to max capacity and even overflowing into the hallways.

Several people made it clear they were in support of the council’s original decision not to raise the flag.

“A section of society doesn’t represent everybody. I like to be supportive of that which unites, rather than that which divides,” said resident David Seely.

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