FRESHMAN TRUSTEE CARRIES DAY
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – The Pride Flag flew over the state Capitol in Albany this summer for the first time.
The idea of flying it over Village Hall in Skaneateles was proposed in June, but no action’s yet been taken there.
That means the Village Board’s unanimous voted Monday, July 22, may make Cooperstown the first municipality in the state to authorize flying the Pride Flag on Village Hall next June, LGBT Pride Month.
In announcing the decision, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch said, “There’s wasn’t a lot of discussion. Someone said they would have liked a little more background information. Most of us basically knew the topic and supported it.”
The measure is freshman Trustee MacGuire Benton’s first resolution, and he said “it was wonderful to introduce a bill, and have six votes for it and the mayor’s.
A few meetings ago, Benton said, it was mentioned “some people didn’t feel welcome in this area, on a racial basis, but also on the basis of sexual orientation. I wanted to see what concrete steps Cooperstown would take to let people know LGTQ people are welcome here.”
The mayor said Benton raised the possibility of flying the Pride Flag with her a few months ago, and she encouraged him to pursue it. She said the measure is in line with trustee actions over the past couple of years positioning the village as an accepting community, resolutions that date back to December 2016.
“We just updated our resolution,” she said, “and we have ordered … some signs that we are a ‘welcoming community,’ which will go on the entrances to the village. I don’t think it’s out of line with any sentiments that we’ve been presented with in the community.”
She said there is no policy governing the placement of flags on Village Hall. While this is a novel step, she did recall raising the “Tree City” flag on Arbor Day one year.
For his part, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig said the issue has not arisen in the City of the Hills. If approached, he said, he’d be happy to take a proposal to follow Cooperstown’s suit to Common Council. “Personally, I’d be happy to do so,” he said.
The Rainbow Flag has been the standard of the LGBT movement; the Pride Flag goes a step further, adding a triangle of lines signifying additional gender and sexual identities.
Advised another trustee is considering asking that the POW-MIA flag be flown over Village Hall, Benton said, “that’s awesome.”
The idea is to raise public awareness, the trustee said. “It’s really our job. I certainly support it. We have a Village Hall with plenty of room to raise the flags,” he said.