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Flag raising comes on heels of remarks at Woodward Park event that homosexuality is an ‘abomination’
pride flag
The LGBTQ flag flies over the Manteca Civic Center on Wednesday afternoon.

The LBGTQ Pride Flag is flying over the Manteca Civic Center for the first time ever.

And it will do so for the rest of June in acknowledgment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month.

Interim City Manager Toni Lundgren said it was in response to suggestions from employees that felt it would signal not just the city but Manteca striving to be an accepting and all-inclusive community.
The flag was raised for the first time prior to Tuesday’s Manteca City Council meeting.

It was ironic timing as minutes later under the public comments portion of the council meeting a volunteer stage manager involved with the recent Not Forgotten Memorial Weekend event weekend at Woodward Park tried to downplay utterances by a scheduled  speaker that homosexuality was an abomination.

The stage manager told the council he heard “accusations” of what was said and that “nobody said anything derogatory”. He added that people may disagree with what was said and that they had the right to do so.

That prompted another audience member, a woman, to address the council saying “I was there at about 5 o’clock on Saturday with my husband and we did hear someone up on  stage — we were sitting in the revival tent and not in the audience — who made a derogatory comment about a particular group.”

She went on to say “someone specifically said LBGTQ people were an abomination clearly over the loudspeaker”. She emphasized it did not characterize the overall event.

The decision to fly the pride flag was made by Lundgren in her authority as interim city manager prior to the Memorial Weekend event.

Lundgren on Wednesday noted a third flag could appear below the California flag on the pole closest to the police department while the American flag would be on the pole to the west of the council chambers.

She indicated  a miscommunication resulted in the California state flag being taken down and replaced with the pride flag. She added in a few days that would be rectified going forward with the state flag on top with the third flag — in this case the pride flag — below.

Lundgren said the city would be crafting a policy to establish standards for what flags could be hoisted in front of the city hall in addition to the United States and California flags.

Such a policy would be mindful of U.S. Supreme Court rulings on the matter.

Early last month the high court unanimously ruled that the city of Boston must let a Christian group fly its flag over city hall,

However, the court decision was sufficiently narrow to allow Boston and other cities to develop rules restricting flags that could be flown on municipal property to government-approved messages.

Unlike Manteca’s city hall that has two flag poles, there are three flagpoles in front of Boston's city hall.

One displays the American Flag, the second the state flag, and the third most of the time flies the city's flag.

Boston allows the replacement of the city flag with other flags. It is done in connection with groups obtaining permission to hold ceremonies on the city plaza. Boston approved the raising of 50 such flags from 2005 through 2017. The majority that flew marked the national holidays of other countries.

The other flags that were flown were connected with Pride Week and a community bank among others.

In 2017 the city rejected a request to fly a Christian flag.

That was when Harold Shurtleff, the director of an organization called Camp Constitution, asked to hold a flag raising ceremony for a "Christian Flag." The city’s rejection was based on the concern flying a Christian flag in front of city hall would be perceived as endorsement of a specific religion and could be determined to be unconstitutional.

The high court’s ruling was based on the fact the city did not “control” the message . That meant it wasn’t government endorsed speech.

The only other symbolic embracement of LGBTQ Pride Month the City of Manteca has ever made was last June.

The city’s logo posted on the City of Manteca’s Facebook feed was changed from red, white and blue to reflect the rainbow colors of the pride flag.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email