CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Village of Clayton has revised their flag policy so that only the American flag and flags of other nations can be raised in the village. Questions have been raised as to why the revision was necessary and if the timing was a coincidence since the new policy followed the River Pride event in the village.
River Pride took place in Clayton during the last weekend of June to support the LGBTQ+ community. In honor of the event the Clayton Village Board approved a request to allow a rainbow flag to be raised under the American Flag at Frink Park.
Soon after the approval for the pride flag to be raised, the board discussed amending their flag policy to prevent organizations, including River Pride, from flying their flags in the village. The request for the policy revision was initiated at the board meeting on May 24.
The revised flag policy was presented to the board during the board meeting on June 24, but minor revisions were requested and approval was pushed back.
ABC50’s Delaney Keppner spoke to Village Board Member, Deputy Mayor and Trustee Nancy Hyde regarding the revised flag policy and if it was related to the pride event in June. Hyde said the decision was not made against the LQBTQ+ community, but to avoid conflict with other organizations.
Hyde said that the board viewed the revision as a way to prevent future discussions regarding which flags can fly in the village. “Do we get a Nazi group that comes in? Do we get all the hate flags? And that’s what we do not want is the hate people, so how do you control it?”
“We are very concerned that other people will come in and say well you did it for this group, you should allow us to have a flag, whatever that flag may be,” Hyde said. “There was just one way around it. We won’t fly any flags on any flagpoles within the community.”
When asked about how this will affect River Pride next year, Hyde said the board replied with, “I don’t know what we’re going to do.” She said at least one person suggested to have the Chamber of Commerce fly a pride flag, but not on village property, as an alternative.
When asked if organizations can petition the board for future requests on a case-by-case basis, Hyde said event organizers could petition, but the request would probably still be denied because it would mean making exceptions to the code.