Illinois City Council Votes to Fly Pro-Life Flag at City Hall After Flying Pride Flag in June

Facebook/Fly the Pro-life Flag
Facebook/Fly the Pro-life Flag

A city council in Illinois has agreed to allow a pro-life flag to fly at city hall, just months after flying the LGBTQIA+ “Pride” flag.

The Galesburg city council voted 5-2 to approve the “Respect Life” flag after pro-life resident Brent Zhorne lobbied for it to be flown, WQAD8 reported Tuesday.

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“Life is sacred — that is something precious and we need to protect it,” Zhorne said at the start of public comment.

Zhorne is not a part of the Knox County Right to Life group; however, several members from the pro-life group attended the meeting and vouched for the idea, according to the report.

“I would like to see the flag flown because we do respect life — all stages of life,” one attendee said.

“This cause is so sacred to our country, to ourselves, to our faith,” another said.

Others at the meeting were not pleased with the idea, and argued that if the city council allowed a pro-life flag to be flown, they would have to allow all other kinds of flags in the future. Council member Dwight White, who voted against the flag, even likened the pro-life flag to confederate and the “alt-right” flags.

“I guarantee you next thing, do you think the Confederate Flag Group, Mothers of Confederacy, do you think the alt-right has a right? They’re gonna want to fly their flag,” White said.

But council member Health Acerra contended the flag is “not just about the unborn” but also “handicapped individuals [and] individuals near the end of life.”

“I consider it to be of broader concern than just abortion,” Acerra added.

The decision comes after the city voted to allow an LGBTQ+ flag to be flown at city hall during the month of June.

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According to the report.:

Currently, the city of Galesburg has no ordinance that outlines how the city decides what flags to fly. Mayor Peter Schwartzman said talks on those rules were supposed to take place sooner, but staff changes — most notably with the city manager and city attorney — delayed those talks. … Mayor Schwartzman added that he hopes the council can work out those rules by the end of the year.

City council squabbles over what kinds of flags to fly, while seemingly a hyper local issue, have previously gone all the way up to the Supreme Court.

The Associated Press

The American flag, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts flag, and the City of Boston flag, from left, fly outside Boston City Hall, Monday, May 2, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

For example, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the City of Boston in May of last year for denying a group the right to fly the Christian Flag outside the entrance of Boston City Hall, despite allowing other flags to fly, including the Pride flag. In that case, the high court ruled that Boston’s flag-raising program does not express government speech, meaning Boston’s refusal to let petitioners fly their flag violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his opinion for the Court, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett:

When the government encourages diverse expression — say, by creating a forum for debate — the First Amendment prevents it from discriminating against speakers based on their viewpoint. But when the government speaks for itself, the First Amendment does not demand airtime for all views.

“We conclude that, on balance, Boston did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech. That means, in turn, that Boston’s refusal to let Shurtleff and Camp Constitution raise their flag based on its religious viewpoint ‘abridg[ed]’ their ‘freedom of speech,’” Breyer continued.

Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on X @thekat_hamilton.


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