Hamtramck leaders vote against allowing Pride flag to be displayed on City-owned property

Hamtramck officials voted against allowing flags of any religious, racial, ethnic or sexual-oriented group on City property on Tuesday night.

The decision was made despite receiving passionate arguments from pro-LGBTQ residents and activists at the packed City Council meeting which stretched beyond three hours. As a result, flags would not be displayed outside City Hall, libraries, and parks. 

"We are confirming the neutrality of the City of Hamtramck we decided to stay neutral," said Mayor Amer Ghalib to FOX 2 earlier. "Flags that pertain to any religious, racial, ethnic or sexual-oriented group (would not be allowed). Exceptions are the American flag, state and city flags, POW MIA."

A passionate embrace by an LGBTQ couple inside Hamtramck’s City Council meeting Tuesday night protested the resolution.

"I yield the rest of my time, thank you (applause)," said a woman earing a clown nose at the podium, who then kissed a female next to her.

"It is clear that you are either ignorant, hateful and or spiteful," said a transgender speaker.

Supporters of the proposal say it’s all about being neutral. The resolution says Hamtramck embraces diversity but should not show special treatment to any group.

"I think the elephants in the room, the thing that we are not talking about, is that homosexuality is a sin," said one man.

The language reads in part, "The City of Hamtramck does not allow any religious, ethnic, racial, political, or sexual orientation group flags to be flown on the City’s public properties, and that only, the American flag, the flag of the State of Michigan, the Hamtramck Flag, the Prisoner of War flag on City property. "

"I am a Lebanese person and I support the American flag," said Hassan Aoun, a Dearborn activist. "We are not going to sit here and tolerate you guys coming and saying, 'Oh it’s Pride Month. You're gay? No problem.' Don’t sit here and throw it down kids' throat, my throat, or anybody’s throat."

Symbols promoting political causes like LGBTQ issues have been posted on many government properties, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer's mansion where the gay rights and transgender flags fly over the front door in Lansing.

But many say at the local level, it should vary from community to community.

"This is a historic moment, a moment where the basic rights of the LGBTQ community is under attack," said a woman.