Clifton town council agrees to fly gay pride flag outside City Hall
By a close vote, a Passaic County town council has decided to fly the rainbow flag to celebrate gay pride.
Clifton Mayor Jim Anzaldi on Wednesday broke the tie after three council members voted against raising the pride flag and three voted in favor of it.
Resident Elana Stabile and the Garden State Equality advocacy group had requested the flag be raised to recognize the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.
"This is creating change, this has raised a question. It is putting it out there that other groups that represent your community, want to be recognized. We want to have the city behind us," says Stabile.
The mayor and council debated whether the pride flag should be raised in a separate area or whether a committee needs to evaluate future flag raisings.
Previously the only flags that have been flown outside Clifton City Hall have been national flags. Currently a Turkish flag is being flown outside City Hall.
Stabile says that at times she felt that not everyone in the city was behind her. She felt that her request for the raising of the flag was being pushed to the side.
Former Clifton Councilwoman Mary Sadrakula says that through the open public records act, she found that the Turkish community put in their request after Stabile but were approved first.
"While Clifton is celebrating its 100-year anniversary, it's time we get into this century and no group should be discriminated," she says.
Some people opposed to having the gay pride flag outside City Hall worry that it would set a precedent for groups like the Islamic State or Ku Klux Klan to want their flags to fly. But Sadrakula says that this is ridiculous.
"It's an insult to anyone who believes in equality to associate the LGBT community with the KKK. That is a disgrace," she says.
News 12 New Jersey tried to speak to Mayor Anzaldi about the vote, but he was not available for comment.
The flag raising ceremony will take place at the municipal building on June 25.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.