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ACLU Of Louisiana Voices Opposition To Potential Lafayette Flags Ordinance

gay pride flag (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
gay pride flag (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) — The executive director of Louisiana’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is cautioning against a proposed ordinance that could limit what types of flags could be flown on government-owned flagpoles.

The comments come after controversy surrounding a gay pride flag that was flown at Girard Park in Lafayette shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Lafayette City-Parish councilman Andy Naquin is considering an ordinance that would only allow the U.S. flag, the Louisiana state flag, and the City of Lafayette flag to be flown on government flagpoles. However, Naquin also indicated to the Daily Advertiser that he might consider certain exceptions, such as the flying of the Mardi Gras flag.

It was that possible exception that ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman targeted in a letter sent to City-Parish attorney Mike Hebert, who is helping Naquin research and possibly draft the ordinance.

“They have the right to say, ‘Nobody can fly a private flag on government flagpoles,’” Esman said on “Your Afternoon Drive Home.”

“They have the right to do that. But they don’t have the right to pick and choose which ones can fly. They either open it up to everybody, or they close it to everybody.”

If an ordinance without exceptions were to pass, Esman said it would prevent any private business or special interest group, such as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and others, from displaying their flags on government-owned flagpoles.

While city-parish government would be within its rights to enact and enforce such a measure, Esman said it would “produce the unfortunate result that Lafayette community members will no longer be allowed to use LCG-owned public flag standards to fly other popular flags, including POW-MIA flags, ‘Support Our Troops’ flags, ‘Ragin’ Cajun’ flags, Mardi Gras flags, Creole flags and others.

“For those reasons, the LCG should maintain the status quo and not pass Councilman Naquin’s proposed ordinance,” Esman said in her letter to Hebert.

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