Dublin official who voted against LGBT flag reconsiders his stance

Dublin Councilmember Arun Goel apologized for this vote on May 21.

A week after Dublin Councilmember Arun Goel appeared to embrace a slippery slope argument proffered by some residents against observing Pride month by raising the iconic rainbow flag at city hall, he now says he supports the proposal and urges for a reconsideration of the council vote next week.

Goel wrote in a Facebook posting Monday that he was educated by members of the LGBTQ community on the importance and symbolism of the Pride flag in the days after the council’s controversial vote on May 21.

“I reaffirm my commitment to the LGBT community, and I reaffirm my belief that we should have an inclusive flag raising policy to ensure that we remain true to our values. Dublin does not condone hatred, bigotry, or discrimination of any kind, toward any human being. We do not harbor hatred of others because they are different, but we do celebrate our diversity. We are proud of it.” Goel wrote.

“In other words, YES, I believe that we should have an inclusive flag raising policy, and YES, I believe that the LGBT pride flag should qualify.”

Goel reiterated that the Dublin City Council should adopt of policy for special flag raisings, but also want to revisit the LGBT flag issue as early as its next meeting on June 4.

He went further acknowledging the existence of other LGBT flags that are more specific to groups within the community and that they too should be flown in Dublin.

During the May 21 meeting, a number of public speakers voiced a range of distinct and veiled anti-LGBTQ comments. Goel expressed personal regret on Facebook for “not being a more proactive voice in directly addressing any inappropriate comments made by residents during public comment.”

Goel’s public comments last week, at one point, praised “a lot of great speeches,” before questioning whether allowing the LGBT flag to fly over city hall would lead to all types of groups expressing a desire to fly their own banners. “If we were to do something like this, I’m worried. What is the next step? What is the next ask?” Goel said on May 21.

In addition, to Goel, Dublin Mayor David Haubert and Councilmember Melissa Hernandez voted against the LGBT Pride flag proposal brought by Councilmember Shawn Kumagai. Hernandez said her vote was not a vote against the LGBTQ community, but a decision to prioritize the creation of a specific flag raising policy.

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