Leslie Robinson

Flying the Colors

Filed By Leslie Robinson | June 06, 2011 8:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Bob Marshall, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, homophobic behavior, Pride, rainbow flag, Richmond, The Family Foundation, Virginia

gayflag.jpgAt the start of June, citizens of Richmond, Va., noticed an addition to the flagpole outside the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Underneath the American flag waved a rainbow flag. The two banners, Old Glory and Newish Pride-y, flapped in the breeze.

Then gums flapped, too, and within seconds Richmond had its very own flag flap. A flap over the fag flag. Gag.

I'll stop now.

The rumpus began when PRISM, a year-old employee LGBT group at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, asked for the flying of the rainbow flag to mark Pride month. The bank, a private financial institution located downtown, agreed to fly the flag for all of June, reported Richmond.com.

Richmond's Pride actually takes place in September, but that's not the point, so forget I mentioned it.

"We strongly support a diverse and inclusive culture at the Richmond Fed and have learned that it is important to value and embrace differences, both seen and unseen," said Sally Green, the bank's chief operating officer.

"We are flying the 'Pride' flag as an example of our commitment to the values of acceptance and inclusion," she added.

Aren't those great sentiments? I'd like to work for Ms. Green, if I didn't have such a blanket distrust of any entity that might've contributed to the world's economic collapse. Forget I mentioned that, too.

So there was the rainbow flag, dressing up the downtown concrete monolith in Virginia's capital city. And there were members of The Family Foundation, enjoying their new headquarters until they looked out their west-facing windows and spotted the flag.

It's a real shame the rainbow flag won't permanently mar the view of these guardians of family values.

They blogged their displeasure, noting bank executive Sally Green's statement about inclusivity and complaining, "Apparently that inclusivity doesn't apply to those who do not condone homosexual behavior."

Honestly. How can you condone or not condone a naturally existing group of people? It's like saying you don't approve of redheads, or left-handers, or Pygmies. Don't forget I mentioned that.

The Cavalier State's protectors pledged stiff upper lips: "At The Family Foundation, we will simply choose to use this flag . . . as motivation for the work that lies ahead."

Namely attacking gay, redheaded, left-handed Pygmies.

Bob Marshall, a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, pitched in with a hysterical response to the Pride flag. He dispatched a letter to Jeffrey M. Lacker, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

Marshall misspelled Lacker's name, but hey, he was so upset he could hardly think straight.

The lawmaker questioned what flying the flag has to do with the Fed's mission. "Moreover, the homosexual behavior 'celebrated' by your Richmond's Federal Reserve Bank spokeswoman undermines the American economy, is a class six felony in Virginia (18.2-361, VA Code), shortens lives, adds significantly to illness, increases health costs, promotes venereal diseases, and worsens the population imbalance relating to the number of workers supporting the beneficiaries of America's Social Security and Medicare Programs."

I'm pretty sure we were on the grassy knoll, too.

Marshall continued, "The Richmond Fed's endorsement of costly, anti-social, immoral behavior is rejected by 6,000 years of Western Religious and moral teaching. You want the American people to trust your judgement in economic matters when your spokesperson celebrates an attack on public morals?"

That Virginians trust Marshall's judgement enough to elect him is what is truly scary.

The legislator ended his fanciful rant with, "Mr. Lacke (sic), take down that flag!"

As of this writing, the bank hasn't. I'm fascinated to see if it withstands the attacks, and if it hoists the flag next year.

I know one thing: These colors don't run. Unless you wash them in the wrong temperature.


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I hate all of the uproar that a rainbow flag causes, and it's disappointing that an organization that trumpeted how important celebrating diversity was to them would bend so easily to an anti-gay group.

the bank better keep that flag up!

Ted Hayes Ted Hayes | June 7, 2011 11:50 AM

I wrote to the Board of Directors (address on the bank's web site) to thank them for their support. I hope some of you will as well. I don't believe we thank allies enough.

How fantastic that they'd be willing to fly the flag. So many organizations would fear the uproar that would be created, and they've chosen to withstand it all.