The Coast News Group
The rainbow pride flag flies at the California State Capitol. Encinitas could become the first city in the county to follow suit.
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Encinitas to consider flying rainbow pride flag for LGBTQ Pride Month

The City of Encinitas could become the first city in the county to fly the rainbow pride flag at its City Hall in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month.

Taking its cues from the State of California, which had the pride flag raised at the state Capitol Monday, Encinitas will join a number of jurisdictions taking aim at the Trump administration’s recent policy forbidding the flag at federal buildings.

The City Council will take the issue up at a special City Council meeting at 3:30 p.m. June 19 at City Council Chambers.

“It’s important to stand up for inclusive values,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear said. “The pride flag demonstrates the city’s commitment in a public way.”

Elected city positions are nonpartisan, but Encinitas is one of the only cities in the county that has five registered Democrats on the city council. The Council will likely vote to support the authorization.

Leading members of the LGBTQ community hailed Encinitas’ decision. They said it demonstrates that the city is an ally to the gay community.

“Flying the flag over City Hall during Pride Month is a clear message of support to the thousands of LGBT families that live in North County,” said Max Disposti, executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center in Oceanside. Disposti worked with Encinitas Councilman Joe Mosca – the city’s first openly gay elected official – on the matter.

“In this climate of rampant hate and anti-LGBT rhetoric our youth need the support of our community and political leadership to create visible and clear support in our schools and community,” Disposti said.

Mosca said that flying the flag is a “great reflection of the values the community.”

“We are an inclusive community and a diverse community that welcomes all, and we embrace that,” Mosca said.

Mosca said that the timing of the city’s decision – weeks after the 50th anniversary of the riots that helped jump start the modern gay rights movement – is a perfect time to reflect on the progress made towards LGBTQ equality, and the work that remains to be done.

“We have made some great advancements, but we must continue to stay strong and focus on equality for all,” Mosca said. “This is a perfect time to stand up and make sure everyone knows who we are, that we are an inclusive community and we will continue to stand up for equality.”

Encinitas’ decision comes shortly after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence confirmed that the Trump Administration rejected U.S. embassies’ requests to fly the pride flag in June. Some embassies have defied the policy and flown the flag or found other ways to honor Pride Month, such as by shining rainbow lights on the exterior of embassies.

Wisconsin and New York also joined California by deciding to raise the pride flag at their state capitols for the first time in their history.