Members of Safe Redlands Schools, Neighborhood Gays, Redlands Alphabet Soup and their community allies support their community by escorting meeting attendees safely to their vehicles.

The Redlands City Council meeting on Tuesday saw the fierce rallying of community members again over the city’s vote on flying the Rainbow Pride Flag on the city flagpole during Pride Month, celebrating LGBTQIA voices, culture and rights in June.

The decision to fly or not fly the rainbow flag during Pride Month came to a conclusion with votes against the resolution by Mayor Eddie Tejeda, Mayor Pro Tempore Paul Barich and Councilman Mario Saucedo. Councilwoman Denise Davis and Jenna Guzman-Lowery voted in favor.

The decision was left to Tejeda as the other council members had firm stances since the previous vote in March.

“I believe I understand why this is important,” Tejeda said. “I asked if we could fly the Pride Flag in 2020. I voted for this item in subsequent years to be consistent.”

After a long listing of his process for reaching his decision, several things stood out to him such as his dedication as a civil servant to remain unbiased and the potential negative impact on the nonpartisan stance of the local government.

The LGBTQIA community left the council chambers visibly and audibly defeated.

The more than 20 public comments heard at the meeting in favor of the raising of the rainbow flag for the month of June highlighted the call for inclusivity of the LGBTQIA community in Redlands.

The resolution was not only considering the Pride Flag but also was considering the revision of its city speech policy.

Initially introduced at the March 21 council meeting, the “Flag Display Policy” would have altered government property from a “nonpublic forum” to a tier of less restriction, a “limited public forum.”

The new designation would open the government property for expressive activity under certain conditions and restrictions. The city does not endorse religion or encourage a certain vote in an election and with its continuing policy it will not consider the flying of “commemorative flags,” which include flags that identify with a specific date, historical event, cause, nation or group of people.

The controversy arose when the language of the policy was realized to be an expression of the city’s official sentiments. During councilmember comments Guzman-Lowery said, “to take a step back from the decisions already made would be a disservice to our community,” referencing the two previous years in which the Pride Flag indeed was raised by the city.

Davis also highlighted that the strategic plan in Redlands now, for the first time, has equity and inclusion, to which Pillar C is in alignment with the values of the Pride Flag.

Many supporters of the Pride Flag emphasized that the flag was not a political flag and presented facts about the flag’s recognition by the state and federal government and their choice to raise the flag at many federal buildings and in the California State Capitol. However, the flag will not be raised at City Hall in Redlands.