Cincinnati is flying rainbow flags at city hall this year for the first time ever. The flags, which are in place to celebrate pride month, are a new addition for the city and signify its dedication to LGBTQ equality and inclusivity.
The flags were the idea of City Councilman Chris Seelback, who is the Cincinnati City Counsel’s first openly gay council member and Greg Landsman, another council member after neighboring city Louisville put out pride flags to celebrate pride month.
“It’s incredible how far we’ve come,” Seelbach said to The Enquirer. “If you told somebody in 2004 – before the repeal of Article 12 – we’d be in 15 years putting up this flag, nobody would have believed it.” Article 12 was a Cincinnati law that allowed discrimination based on sexual orientation, but it was repealed in 2012 after a vote.
Since repealing Article 12 and issuing other LGBTQ protections, Cincinnati has scored a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index. Adding the flag to city hall is a marker of all the progress that the city has made, and its commitment to its LGBTQ residents.
The councilmen hope that the tradition will continue and expland. “[H]opefully, next year, there will be one at City Hall again, and one in our airport,” Councilman Landsman said to the Enquirer. “People traveling to (or through) should know we’ve changed so much – and Chris [Seelback] has been such a huge part of that change.”
The mayor of the city also supported the decision to fly a pride flag for the first time this year. “After years of struggle, hard work, and personal testimony by and for people who just want to love each other, Cincinnati has been transformed into a welcoming city for LGBTQ citizens,” Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said. “Raising the pride flag Friday will have been earned by blood, sweat, and tears and I am proud to be part of raising it. It will be an historic day for our Queen City.”