Newcastle City Council Reverses Its Decision

Not To Fly The Pride Flag

5/18/2024

Newcastle raises pride flag

In a hard fought battle in Newcastle’s City Council Chamber, the council voted 4-to-3 to raise the Pride Flag.

On June 5th, 2024, Newcastle City Council voted not to raise the Pride flag or share any proclamations. This follows 4 years of raising the Progress flag and sharing the Pride Proclamation with their community during June. Covered by King 5 News, with council meeting revoking the Pride flag and Pride Proclamation here.

On June 19th, 2024, The Newcastle City Hall was packed for their council meeting with supporters for and against Newcastle’s decision not to raise the pride flag waiting for their chance to speak to the council on the situation.  The public comment period lasted for over two hours and sadly, the people against the Progress Flag’s raising outnumbered those who were for it.  Most speakers espoused religious and authoritarian reasons for not flying the flag.  That said, one speaker for the raising of the Progress Flag mentioned that “we were blocked from coming in and intimidated by the people holding American flags outside the city hall.”

Councilmembers had their own comments which became very contentious with accusations towards Mayor Robert Clark and various councilmembers, mostly arguing that they were following the majority of their constituents in refusing to fly the flag while others said they wished to show their support for the LGBT community.  Accusations also flew during this for and against towards the Mayor and Councilmember Charbonneau, Charbonneau claiming that the mayor called the LGBT community “indoctrinated” on the record, and Councilmember Steve Tallman claiming that Councilmember Charbonneau made the decision personal by talking with the media.

After public comment, City Council Member Paul Charbonneau made a motion to raise the Pride Flag for the remainder of the month.  Councilmembers Paul Griffin and Steve Tallman attempted to derail this motion by claiming it was improper to do so causing a rules debate between the Mayor, Councilmember Tallman and the City Clerk.  The Clerk explained that the council was abiding by the rules as they tended to be followed, while Councilmember Tallman demanded they follow the rules to the letter.

The Mayor then had comments as well, saying that many of the comments towards him and the council were hateful and that the Pride Movement should “be very careful of the hate that’s in your midst.” That “I’m showing you where the actual hate and division is coming from.  It’s not up here from some of us”  and that “A small vocal minority that does not stand for Newcastle’s shared values is creating dissension for personal and political gain.”

In the end, Mayor Clark ruled the motion could go ahead and a vote was taken.

Deputy Mayor Pratima Lakhotia, Councilmembers Sun Burford, Arianna Sherlock, and Paul Charbonneau voted in favor of the motion.
Mayor Robert Clark, Councilmembers Tom Griffin and Steve Tallman voted against.

The order was met with applause, but noticeable jeering in the council chamber.

The Mayor then ordered the Deputy Mayor to raise the Pride Flag personally.