A Castro merchants group has approved a request to fly the New York State flag this weekend in honor of the Empire State’s move to allow same-sex couples to wed.
The Merchants of Upper Market and Castro’s board last week unanimously voted to support adding an official New York State flag (seen at right) below the over-sized Rainbow Flag that currently flies over the heart of San Francisco’s gayborhood.
“With all that has gone on in California the board feels this is something we should do. We want to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in New York,” said banker Steve Adams, MUMC’s president.
Under the proposal, the East Coast state’s flag would be raised at noon Saturday, July 23 and be taken down the evening of Monday, July 25. Same-sex marriage becomes legal in New York State this Sunday, July 24.
Numerous judges are volunteering to work that day so they can waive a 24-hour waiting period requirement and begin marrying gay and lesbian couples immediately.
Local San Francisco blogger and activist Michael Petrelis is friends with openly gay New York State Senator Tom Duane. He requested a flag from the Democratic Manhattan lawmaker’s office in hopes it could be flown in his hometown.
Due to his fighting with MUMC over its policies on when to lower the Rainbow Flag to honor LGBT people who have died, Petrelis reached out to longtime marriage equality activist Molly McKay to be a go between with MUMC.
It is still unclear if the New York flag can be safely flown underneath the Rainbow Flag. Adams told the Bay Area Reporter Monday (July 18) afternoon that the man who handles the flag pole is still trying to figure that out and wouldn’t have a final answer until Tuesday.
“We are working on that now. I don’t have any other details on if we can get another flag on there,” said Adams. “Right now the Rainbow Flag is all we can get on there. We just need to make sure we can get two flags on there.”
Adams added that he believes “there is a way to do it. We just have to make sure we can do it, that’s all.”
According to the website 50states, New York’s flag consists of the state coat of arms emblazoned on a dark blue field. Standing to the left is the goddess Liberty, who is holding a pole affixed with a Liberty Cap. At her feet is a discarded crown, which refers to the Revolutionary War against Great Britain.
To the right of the seal is a blindfolded goddess Justice raising up the scales of justice. The symbolism is a particularly poignant one for the LGBT community, as Justice’s depiction is meant to signal that all persons deserve equal treatment under the law.
The state’s motto, “Excelsior,” signifies reaching upward to higher goals. And the shield depicts a sun rising over the Hudson highlands and ships sailing the Hudson River. The eagle rests atop a globe that refers to the Western Hemisphere.