Flags are seen hanging from the balcony outside of Pennsylvania lieutenant governor John Fetterman’s office as pro-Trump demonstrators rally below,
Supporters of President Donald Trump urged legislators to decertify the election. (Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
It took only a few hours for an LGBT+ Pride flag hung from the Pennsylvania Capitol to celebrate Pride Month to be ripped down by a Republican bill.
John Fetterman, the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, tricked out the balcony of his state Capitol office with the rainbow flag on Tuesday (1 June).
A small act, the longtime ally told ABC News, that he did to show solidarity with queer people – which he feels Republicans often treat as “second-class” citizens.
But as quickly as the flag was hoisted up, Republicans dragged it back down. The GOP-controlled legislature forced state staffers to take down the flag for not being approved by lawmakers.
Republicans had the power to do this due to a provision passed last year that bans flags not approved by the state being hung on the Capitol complex, other than the American flag, the Pennsylvania state flag or one honouring missing American soldiers.
But Fetterman has said that, frankly, he couldn’t care less – he’s flying the Pride flag anyway.
“It’s important to do it until we have equality for gay and trans communities in Pennsylvania of equal protection under the law,” Fetterman told ABC News.
“It’s technically breaking the law by flying this Pride flag on my office balcony, but it’s perfectly legal to discriminate or deny service to members of the gay or trans communities in Pennsylvania.”
“The real way to get rid of my flag is to just enshrine those protections in our constitution.”
For Fetterman, Pennsylvania is lagging behind when it comes to LGBT+ rights. In January, Republicans struck down a bill that would have enshrined queer protections in the state’s constitution.
“We had the opportunity to introduce language granting full equality and protections for members of the gay and trans community, and that was voted down unanimously by members of the Republicans in the legislature,” he said.
In rattling off the reasons why the state must do more, Fetterman noted that Pennsylvania is one of 30 states currently vying to – often with little to no evidence backing it – ban trans athletes from school sports teams.
“I just will never understand why anyone would go out of their way to exclude members of this community and create a second- and third-class citizenry in Pennsylvania,” he said.
“All I’m advocating,” Fetterman added, “is just equal protection under the law for members of our gay and trans communities.”