Noticeably absent from this upcoming weekend's LGBT Pride festivities in Seattle: the Rainbow flag atop the Space Needle.
Although the flag has been raised atop the Space Needle for at least two years during the city's Pride weekend, officials released the following statement to Q13 FOX: "As we don't raise any flag but the American flag on a regular basis, there are no plans to raise the Rainbow flag again this year. We will continue to support equal rights and actively foster these causes as we have in the past."
It's a curious move in a city that's home to a sizable lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population. Still, it comes at a time when the state's proposed marriage equality legislation has come under extreme scrutiny.
Though Washington would be the seventh U.S. state to have legal same-sex marriages after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the voter-approved legislation in February, the law was blocked from taking effect earlier this month when opponents filed more than 200,000 signatures seeking a public vote on the issue, which will now take place in November.
Interestingly, as Q13 FOX reports, the Space Needle had planned not to raise the flag in 2011, but instead issued a challenge -- raise $50,000 for local LGBT charities and the flag would be raised. That challenge was successful and the flag eventually went up.
Among those to decry the decision this year was 73-year-old LGBT rights activist Stuart Wilber. "I respect the fact that [the Space Needle is] a private corporation," he is quoted as saying, "and they have a right to fly anything they want to on the Space Needle. I wish they were flying the Pride flag this weekend, but I hope they will use this as an opportunity to come up with something even more exciting than just flying the flag."
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