Two Michigan City Officials Fired After Flying LGBT Flag

Two officials from a Michigan city were fired after they reportedly flew LGBT Pride flags on city property. The move came after the Hamtramck City Council voted in June to bar the display of Pride flags from municipal property.

The city council, which is exclusively Muslim, voted to remove Russ Gordon and Cathy Stackpole from Hamtramck’s human relations commission.

Local press reported that Stackpole and Gordon flew an LGBT Pride flag over a public sidewalk. 

Following the display, the city council unanimously voted to remove the officials. The council also agreed to remove the commission’s ability to fly flags on city property.

City Councilmember Khalil Refai (D) said that the municipal board “believes in fairness, neutrality towards our residents and the rule of law, amongst other things for this community. We passed a resolution recently to do just that, and two of our sworn commissioners outright defied it, and did what they wanted.”

The councilmember added that the local government was elected by the community, and that as such the “appropriate response” would be to remove the commissioners for violating public trust.

The controversy comes a month after the city council voted to bar the use of the Pride Flag on municipal property in a unanimous vote.

Mayor Pro Tem Mohammed Hassan (D) introduced the measure, which stated that the city would “not allow any religious, ethnic, racial, political or sexual orientation group flags to be flown on the City’s public properties, and that only, the American flag and the nations’ flags that represent the international character of our City shall be flown.”

Hamtramck Mayor Amer Ghalib (D) said that the decision had nothing to do with bigotry. “We serve everybody equally with no discrimination, but without favoritism,” he said. 

Ghalib won the 2021 election over former Mayor Karen Majewski (D) following a disagreement over flying the Pride flag at the city hall.

City Councilman Nayeem Choudhury (D) said that all groups are represented, adding that protesters at the meeting were “making it like you want to hate us.” 

“We want to respect the religious rights of our citizens,” he said.