LOOGOOTEE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – The Loogootee City Council voted to take down the Pride flags that had been put around town earlier this week, putting an end to a saga that began back in January.
Tim and Tracy Brown-Salsman said they first went to city council back at the start of 2022 to ask if they could put up two signs, one saying “Love is Love,” and the other stating, “Celebrate diversity and inclusion.”
Tim Brown-Salsman said he believes they should be able to put their display there because the city puts up Christmas decorations each year.
“I believe in equality for all people. I believe that if they’re going to celebrate christmas, we should have a right to celebrate pride,” he said.
The council did not officially vote on the proposal until April, when they decided only city employees can decorate city property. However, at a council meeting last month, Mayor Noel Harty indicated the city’s beautification board could decide if flags could be put up or not.
The mayor, in a statement, said in part, “I want to apologize to the board as I understand after thought that such a board made up of volunteers shouldn’t have this obligation.”
He also said he would support whatever decision the council made.
“Unless the council votes to do otherwise, I support the city council in their decision,” he wrote.
The council affirmed on Monday they would not allow for decorations to go up, and flags put around planters in the city must be taken down.
Tim Brown-Salsman said he was disappointed by the decision of the council, but he was going to continue to put on events to celebrate the LGBTQ community going forward.
“We will celebrate every year. Next year, we are going to have Loogootee’s first official pride.”
The full statement sent from Mayor Harty is quoted below:
As we all know, the discussion of decorating city property has been the highlight of the last few common council meetings. In April the council voted that only the city would decorate its property. During the May meeting, discussion despite the vote already being made in April seemed to continue. With all of the productivity that has transpired with the cities beautification board I made the suggestion that perhaps the Beautification Committee should be in charge of the What, When, and Who might decorate. Regardless of the suggestion and much discussion, no decision was made for or against the suggestion in the form of a vote by the council. Since the May meeting Beautification Board members have been contacted and all those who responded said while they wanted to continue serving on the board, that they do not feel comfortable making any decisions of this nature. I want to apologize to the board as I understand after thought that such a board made up of volunteers shouldn’t have this obligation. Unless the council votes to do otherwise, I support the city council in their decision.Noel Harty, Mayor of Loogootee