LGBTQ Pride flag might fly at Lake County center starting Friday

  • Lake County Board members are considering flying a rainbow flag at the county government center starting Friday to support the LGBT community.

    Lake County Board members are considering flying a rainbow flag at the county government center starting Friday to support the LGBT community. Getty Images/iStock Photo

 
 
Updated 6/23/2020 7:20 PM

Lake County officials are finalizing a plan to fly a rainbow flag at the county government center in Waukegan starting Friday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride marches.

The proposal calls for the flag to be displayed through July 3 in Lincoln Plaza, which is off Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue on the west side of the county complex.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

It would be the first time the LGBTQ flag is so prominently displayed at the complex, 18 N. County St.

"It's a statement of respect and dignity for all humanity," Lake County Board member Paul Frank said Tuesday during a discussion of the plan by the financial and administrative committee.

That conversation came a few weeks after a resolution recognizing June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month was read aloud by board member Julie Simpson, a Vernon Hills Democrat, during the panel's June 9 meeting.

The first Pride marches occurred in June 1970 -- one year after a police raid at a New York City gay bar called the Stonewall Inn triggered riots.

Pride parades and events now are held in communities across the world.

"Given the rolling tide of history, we are long overdue in recognizing this," said financial committee member John Wasik, a Grayslake Democrat.

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All seven committee members voted to fly the flag. But several voiced concern about the process in which the resolution was brought forth.

Antioch Republican Linda Pedersen questioned why the idea first wasn't discussed by the board's diversity and inclusion committee.

Pedersen and other board members also worried flying the flag will open the door for other groups to ask the board to publicly support their causes.

Board member Mike Rummel, a Lake Forest Republican, predicted the board will be sued if it supports some causes but rejects others, and he said a policy is needed.

Wasik said he'd like to see the county adopt a comprehensive human rights policy that formally recognizes other groups and historical events, such as Juneteenth.

Board Chairwoman Sandy Hart, a Lake Bluff Democrat, said she's purchased a six-striped flag and plans to donate it to the county for display.

Committee member Jennifer Clark, a Libertyville Democrat, said the board should consider flying flags in the future that represent other gender or sexual identities with different color patterns.

The U.S., Illinois and Lake County flags fly on three poles in Lincoln Plaza. If the plan is approved, the Pride flag will be displayed on the pole for either the state or county flag, County Administrator Gary Gibson said.

The resolution authorizing the flag's display requires the full county board's approval. The board is next set to meet at 9 a.m. Friday. That meeting can be viewed live at lakecounty.tv.

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