Heber City Council passed a motion after receiving complaints over Pride banners.
Heber City, a city in Utah has imposed new limitations on banners that can be flown on city-owned property after some residents complained about Pride banners that had been flown for the past two years during Pride Month.
The banners simply read ‘Pride in the Wasatch Back’, but some residents complained, calling them “odd”, “political” and “disturbing.”
Some residents also wondered if they would be allowed to fly Nazi or Confederate flags, although there are no reports of anyone in the city having done so.
Following the complaints, the city’s council unanimously passed a new ordinance on Tuesday (18 August) effectively banning the flying of Pride flags from city-owned property, like streetlamps.
This means that the city will only fly banners on federal and state holidays, as well as council-approved events or messages sponsored by Heber City, Wasatch County or the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce, so long as they’re deemed not to be political or for profit.
According to reports from The Advocate, one resident who spoke in favour of the new ordinance, Nelda McAllister, said that flying the Pride banners was “an endorsement of the city of a political view.” Nelda added that she had no issue with citizens trying to “build a kinder and safer place where we can live the dream of the West of a space for yourself, of living your own values and of your own industry.”
One City Council member, Mike Johnston, said he had no issue with the flying of the Pride banners, but voted in favour because of the “ugly response” that flying them got. “I do want to make it clear that I do not feel like I’m voting for an ordinance because of the pride banners,” KPCW reports him as saying. “It’s actually because of the ugly reply to the pride banners and the things that that is bringing forward.”
Mayor Kelleen Potter, who has a gay son said she didn’t support the ordinance, but felt too worn down from public pressure to vote against it. Potter said she would try and support the LGBTQ+ community in other ways, but that a Pride event was unlikely.
The only dissenting voice against the ordinance, Ben Balnap, who also has a gay son, argued that LGBTQ+ people already “feel ashamed and worthless for being who they are” and challenged those in favour by adding: “Would you truly want to trade your discomfort for theirs?”