In approving the permanent display of the LBGT pride flag at Jayce Park at their Jan. 26 meeting, commissioners said they hope to create an “iconic” spot that will help differentiate Wilton Manors from Fort Lauderdale.
“It will create a sense of place,” said Commissioner Tom Green. He added that he hopes the park, located across from city hall at the corner of Wilton Drive and Northeast 21 Court, will become a tourist spot where many photos are taken.
Mayor Gary Resnick said raising the flag is an important symbol because there’s still a lot of progress to be made in regards to LGBT rights and acceptance. Specifically, he cited some of the Republican GOP presidential candidates saying they would overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of gay marriage if they were elected. “I think it’s going to be important for Wilton Manors.”
Commissioner Justin Flippen said the flag represents the “significant impact on the community” that LGBT individuals have had.
When commissioners first discussed the idea of permanently raising a pride flag on city property last October, residents for and against made their opinions known. Those for gave reasons similar to what Flippen said. Those against praised the contributions of the LGBT community but said raising the pride would be offensive to many residents and elevate the LGBT community above the rest of the city.
But when the commission voted on the issue on Jan. 26, only one resident briefly spoke out. Resnick said the issue seemed controversial earlier but “we have gotten past that. We have consensus as usual.”
Resident Paul Kuta said he’s worried a precedent could be set and that a more controversial group could soon come asking to raise their flag on city property. He also asked that the pride flag, which he prefers be called a banner, should not be on the same pole with any other flags because it is not an official flag.
“I know that this is not the flag of a nation, but it’s more special to some people,” Green said.
The estimated cost to purchase a flag pole is $2,000, not including the associated engineering costs. But instead of funding it through the city, Resnick asked city staff to look for sponsors among the residents and business owners.