A city near Detroit has banned LGBTQ+ flags from publicly owned flagpoles after a tense hour-long public meeting Tuesday.
The Hamtramck city council voted unanimously to ban the flags with one member arguing that the displays are unnecessary.
“You guys are welcome,” council member Nayeem Choudhury said, referring to the LGBTQ community and its supporters. “(But) why do you have to have the flag shown on government property to be represented?”
“You’re already represented,” he added. “We already know who you are.”
The city’s five council members and mayor are all Muslim, as are about half of the city’s residents, according to the Detroit Free Press. The latest census also showed that around 40 percent of the city’s residents are immigrants.
Some members of the all-Muslim council said the pride flag conflicts with the beliefs of some members of their faith.
“We want to respect the religious rights of our citizens,” Choudhury said.
As a result of the vote, they city will only allow flags of the nations that represent the city’s immigrant heritage and the flag of Michigan to be flown.
Mayor Amer Ghalib made the pride flag a campaign issue when then-Mayor Karen Majewski flew one on city property in 2021.
“We serve everybody equally with no discrimination but without favoritism,” he said.
The council resolution reads that it is intended to “maintain and confirm the neutrality of the city of Hamtramck towards its residents.”
Critics are calling the ban discriminatory, however, the resolution’s author, Councilman Mohammed Hassan, said it represents the views of a majority of the city’s residents.
“Please don’t threaten us … I’m the elected official … I’m working for the people, what the majority of the people like,” Hassan said.
In protest, a woman speaking during the public comment portion of the Hamtramck City Council meeting kissed a woman standing next to her Tuesday night.
During the public comments, two women who opposed the Hamtramck resolution banning LGBTQ flags from city property, one wearing a clown nose, gave a sarcastic presentation, then kissed in front of the city council: pic.twitter.com/QFO4ws3i4H
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) June 14, 2023