The attorney for consolidated government, questioned at Tuesday night’s council meeting, told council members that there currently “is no set policy about the flying of flags, but that’s not to say that anybody can fly a flag whenever they want to.” Attorney Mike Hebert added later that the “bottom line is I don’t think that it’s particularly necessary to have a particular ordinance to regulate particular flags,” offering council members a caveat: if they choose they can propose and vote on an ordinance restricting the use of government-owned flagpoles to only government flags, but “we have to be careful that it doesn’t step on the First Amendment.”
Hebert’s comments were in response to questions mainly from Councilman William Theriot, who queried the attorney following comments from Ray Green, the conservative District 6 resident who took umbrage to seeing a photograph in The Daily Advertiser of a gay pride flag flying at Girard Park in late June as members of Lafayette’s LGBT community celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.
Green wants government-owned flagpoles reserved strictly for official government flags, warning that allowing a gay pride flag to fly opens the door to white supremacists, pedophiles and other noxious groups to fly their flags, too.
Hebert, however, took exception with Green’s slippery-slope argument: “I think it’s overbroad to say if you let one in you let all in,” Hebert told the council, adding that while it’s not impermissible for the council to adopt a flag ordinance, he isn’t sure such an ordinance is “legally necessary.”
So, in other words, nothing is cleared up in this embarrassing matter. We suspect most members of the council would prefer the issue, which has brought undo negative attention to Lafayette, would just go away.
Watch the full council meeting here. Hebert’s discussion about a possible flag ordinance begins at about 1:10:00.