Couple to Ask City Council Monday: Will Oak Park Fly a Rainbow Flag?
(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 15, 2019)
Oak Park, MI – Tyler Mims-Beltz and the man he married during the Ferndale Pride Festival on June 1 are planning another demonstration of love, not just for themselves but for same-sex couples throughout the community. They are going to the Oak Park City Council Meeting June 17 to ask that the city fly the rainbow flag – a symbol of LGBTQA+ pride.
“We’ve just been heckled a lot lately for holding hands in being gay in Oak Park and Madison Heights, and Troy. I feel like Oak Park should join Ferndale, Hazel Park and Detroit in flying the rainbow flag,” Mims-Beltz said.
He and husband Ryan have been encouraging friends and people on social media to join them at the June 17th meeting, which takes place at Oak Park City Hall, 13600 Oak Park Blvd, at 7pm.
A Facebook Page for the event states “June is recognized as Pride Month all across the United States, In June of 1969 the Stonewall riots occurred which was an uprising of LGBTQ people who fought back against police for being treated as less than.
“In June, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBTQ people have had in the world. Ferndale Pride and Motor City Pride are just some of the local festivals that are held in June.
“It is still okay for LGBTQ people to get fired from their workplace and denied housing for simply being gay or transgender. Let’s move forward and change this!
“Neighboring cities such as Ferndale and Hazel Park have raised a rainbow flag to acknowledge that LGBTQ identified individuals matter and that the government and city officials stand behind them to provide a safe and supporting environment.
“If you are interested in supporting this idea please attend the council meeting, come with decorative signs and spread the word through the community and local businesses.”
City Manager Erik Tungate has not yet responded to questions about the city’s perspective on the forthcoming request.
Ferndale, Hazel Park, and Detroit all had ceremonies to raise the rainbow flag and fly it for the month of June, plus Ferndale has one year-round inside council chambers. Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter explained the meaning of the Pride flag when it was installed inside in 2017.
“This flag represents more than just LGBT rights,” he said. “The rainbow of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple represents life, healing, sunlight, nature, art and spirit stand as vibrant symbols of hope for our entire community.”
Ferndale Pride Director Julia Music said she plans on speaking during public comment to support the couple’s request. “When a city decides to fly the rainbow flag it sounds a message that everyone is welcome everyone is included and no one has to hide who they are to live there,” Music said.
Beltz-Mims said he is unsure how many people will also come to speak. He has created a Facebook Page with details. The Oak Park City Council meeting takes place Monday, June 17 at 7pm. More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/427606261165486/