A controversy over a symbol of gay pride has government officials in Lafayette considering new laws, and civil libertarians advising any government considering such changes to be careful to respect everyone's 1st Amendment rights.
The controversy started at a gay pride rally last month in a Lafayette public park. While celebrating recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings concerning marriage equality, someone hoisted a gay pride flag on the same pole occupied by an American flag. That prompted some residents to complain about seeing the rainbow banner directly beneath the Stars and Stripes.
Lafayette councilman Andy Nacquin said he'd prefer it if only government flags fly on government property.
"The flagpoles on government property are meant for an all-inclusive flag, which is the flag of the United States of America," said Nacquin.
Otherwise, Nacquin said it's fine with him for any group to display any banner it wants in the park.
"They can fly their flag all they want at Girard Park, but I don't think it should be flown on a government-owned flagpole," he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, in a letter to Lafayette Consolidated Government attorney Mike Hebert, says the council needs to be careful that it doesn't take action which would run the risk of infringing on residents' 1st Amendment rights.