The Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, Virginia made a simple decision to run a rainbow flag up its flagpole on June 1st in honor of gay pride month.
Almost immediately after the flag was raised, letters started pouring in —some in support, some in protest— and lawmakers started talking about how hanging up a flag representing equality was the most vile thing the bank could've done:
One day later, Bob Marshall, a Republican in the House of Delegates and an outspoken opponent on gay rights issues, was moved to write a letter to the bank's president, saying that the flag was inappropriate for a quasi-governmental entity.
Gay and lesbian "behavior," he wrote, "undermines the American economy, shortens lives, adds significantly to illness, increases health costs, promotes venereal diseases," among other things.
That's a terrific point, since heterosexual folks never get sick, never contract STDs, and they all live forever.
Jim Strader, a spokesperson for the bank, said the flag is meant to symbolize "values of being open and inclusive," and to show that the bank is "a place that doesn't discriminate."
Unfortunately, many people are complaining that the flag is too "noticeable." You know, since it isn't made of invisible fabric:
Rainbows, which festoon entire neighborhoods in some cities during gay pride month, are hard to spot in Richmond, and Mr. Parrish said the flag outside the bank was "noticeable."
"This is not Greenwich Village or Hell's Kitchen," he said.
No one is arguing with you there, Mr. Parrish. I doubt anyone in Virginia thinks of Richmond as "The Greenwich Village of Virginia."
Especially considering this fun fact: "House Republicans have twice blocked a bill that would protect state employees from discrimination by sexual orientation."
Yep. Virginia is practically one gay pride flag away from becoming the next Christopher Street.
Rainbow Flag Goes Up; Letters Flow In [NYTimes]