A version of the West Hollywood flag emblazoned with rainbow colors will be flying on West Hollywood City Hall today, with the City Council’s approval of a staff recommendation to use it as the city’s official banner.
The official city flag will now use a multi-colored city logo on a white background.
The council’s decision, which came quickly and without discussion, brings to an end what was an often-heated debate over whether or not the city should fly the rainbow flag, an LGBT symbol, atop City Hall. The debate started in June, when Larry Block, owner of the Block Party apparel stores and a recently announced candidate for the West Hollywood City Council, asked the Council to put up the flag to commemorate LA Pride. The flag was taken down on Jan. 8, sparking a debate about whether it was appropriate to permanently erect such a symbol of LGBT pride. On the one hand, supporters of the rainbow flag argued that 40 percent of West Hollywood’s population was composed of gay men and another four percent of lesbians. On the other hand, opponents, the most prominent of whom was City Councilmember John Duran, who himself is gay, argued that putting the LGBT flag on City Hall might seem exclusionary to some of the 60 percent of West Hollywood residents who are heterosexual.
At its Feb. 3 meeting, the Council voted to request that city staffers investigate the idea of using a multi-colored city logo on West Hollywood’s official flag and display the actual rainbow flag and a transgender flag at the Matthew Shepard Memorial at the intersection of Santa Monica and Crescent Heights boulevards.
The proposal approved by the Council reserves the top of City Hall for the U.S., California and West Hollywood flags (with the rainbow-colored logo), with a fourth halyard installed to display government or non-government flags from time to time at the discretion of the city manager.