LGBT organizations speak out on Confederate battle flag

Guest Commentary

The following is a joint letter penned June 23, 2015, by several regional and national LGBT and progressive organizations. The full list of signatories as of press time appears below the letter.

No state should embrace a symbol that so clearly stands for bigotry, violence, division and hate. No government entity should fly a flag that once divided this nation in bloody conflict and now reminds millions of people in the United States of the racism that still plagues this nation.

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The Confederate battle flag and versions of the same do not stand for heritage. It is, as South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said, “a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally racist past.” In the America of 2015, it does not belong on state or federal property, and it should not be flown in a place of honor as a part of any state flag.

In South Carolina, these words take on particular resonance, as calls for the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol come just days after a white supremacist opened fire on a Bible study in a historically black church, killing nine black Americans, including a state senator. It is no wonder Republicans and Democrats are crossing the aisle to join in support of taking down the flag from the front of the State House.

As organizations that stand for equality and justice for all people, we are united in our opposition to the usage of such offensive and violent symbols. We support efforts to remove the Confederate flag as a contemporary symbol in the public square, beginning in South Carolina. But we also recognize that our work isn’t done with the state’s disavowal of a racist symbol.

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Even as we stand side-by-side with those who wish to see the confederate flag removed from South Carolina — and in all public spaces across the nation — we also stand committed to addressing the hard truths that divide us, to finding solutions for the inequities facing people of color, and to ensuring access to fairness and to justice for all. : :

Organizations signing onto the letter include: ACLU of South Carolina, Center For Black Equity, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, COLAGE, Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, Family Equality Council, Freedom to Marry, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund & Institute, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Marriage Equality USA, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National LGBTQ Task Force, New York City Anti-Violence Project, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, PFLAG National, Pride at Work, SC Equality, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), South Carolina Black Pride, The Pride Network, Trevor Project.

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