Thornton Pride flag will fly

Public comments change council minds about displaying LGBTQ support

Liam Adams
ladams@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/14/21

Deviating from a previous plan, the city of Thornton will fly a Pride flag in front of City Hall because of an unplanned city council vote at a June 8 meeting. Before June 8, city council did not …

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Thornton Pride flag will fly

Public comments change council minds about displaying LGBTQ support

Posted

Deviating from a previous plan, the city of Thornton will fly a Pride flag in front of City Hall because of an unplanned city council vote at a June 8 meeting.

Before June 8, city council did not reach a consensus on raising a flag for Pride Month, which celebrates the LGBTQ community. That changed, though, when community members showed up to the recent meeting and spoke for an hour during public comments about the importance of a Pride flag.

“We’re a supportive community, I don’t think we need signs to tell us that,” said Councilor Angie Bedolla at a June 1 planning session.

In a discussion about celebrating Pride Month, council agreed to adopt a formal resolution and direct city staff to make posts on social media. Councilors Jacque Philips and Julia Marvin also wanted the city to display a sign or flag. Bedolla and Councilman David Acunto disagreed, however. At the June 1 planning session, Mayor Jan Kulmann said the city wouldn’t move forward with a sign or flag because there wasn’t consensus.

In response, Thornton residents who identify as LGBTQ and other community members rallied. Four people who are running for city council in November — Roberta Ayala, Kathy Henson, Karen Bigelow and Kate Miya — solicited the donation of a Pride flag and organized a gathering for the June 8 in-person council meeting.

At the meeting, dozens of community members showed up to speak during public comments or show their support by sitting in the audience wearing a Pride shirt.

“It’s a simple gesture, it’s not something we’re asking hard of you. You did a resolution. Awesome. But the significance of a Pride flag is so much more important than just a resolution,” said resident Deja Moore, a transgender woman, during public comments. “It really embodies and shows that we matter and if we do matter, take that stance. Yield that pride flag like you should.”

Several public speakers pointed out that many of Thornton’s neighbors, including Westminster, Northglenn and Broomfield, had some form of public display for Pride Month.

“We are the sixth largest city in Colorado and the largest city in Adams County, it’s time to put Thornton on the map. It’s time to shatter every closet door and to build a more inclusive and embracive tomorrow,” said resident Seth Thomas.

After public comments, the debate continued at the council dais. “The majority of council, not all, refused to do signs to support Pride and to raise a flag. I find this disappointing at best,” Phillips said.

Mayor Pro Tem Jessica Sandgren said it’s not as straightforward as some make it out to be. “While I support pride month and putting signs or flag in your yard, I feel that flying a flag other than what we have now opens the door for other flag that will cause divide in our city,” Sandgren said. “Flying a flag or not flying a flag does not indicate support or opposition of any cause.”

Marvin disagreed and during her comments, she spontaneously introduced a motion to fly the Pride flag in front of City Hall. Philips seconded it, leading Kulmann to ask for a roll call. Marvin, Philips and Councilors Adam Matkowsky, Sherry Goodman and Sam Nizam voted yes. Kulmann, Sandgren, Acunto and Bedolla voted no.

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