HAMTRAMCK (WWJ) - After hours of fierce debate on Tuesday evening, the City of Hamtramck effectively ruled that it will no longer fly the LGBTQ Pride flag, along with others, on city property in an effort to remain neutral towards its residents.
The resolution, passed unanimously in the late evening hours on June 13th, said "the government of the City of Hamtramck does not allow any religious, ethnic, racial, political, or sexual orientation group flags to be flown on the City’s public properties, and that only, the American flag, and the nations’ flags that represent the international character of our City shall be flown."
According to officials, the City of Hamtramck is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. and it wishes to keep promoting all of its residents with "no discrimination or special treatment to any group."
The resolution states, "each religious, ethnic, racial, political, or sexually oriented group is already represented by the country it belongs to."
In addition, the council also added that the "the City does not want to open the door for radical or racist groups to ask for their flags to be flown."
Tensions have been flaring in Hamtramck since last year when residents began debating if officials should allow the LGBTQ flag to be displayed over the city's sidewalks. The debate began over criticism from Mayor Amer Ghalib and others after Relations Commission Chair Russ Gordon put up a Pride flag and the flags of other nations on Jos Campau Avenue.
Gordon said he had been asked to hang up the flags by the previous city administration.
While the argument simmered, it was blown wide open when former Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski stated that an LGBTQ Pride flag was pulled of the Piast Institute, a Polish American center, and thrown in the trash.
Last night's meeting drew a big turnout from residents with debate raging for hours.
Many in the community saw the removal of Pride flags as an attack on the LGBTQ community, while city officials said the resolution is not solely about Pride flags, but all flags that are symbolizing any religious, racial, ethnic or political group.