McHenry County Board rejects flag policy

The McHenry County Government Center in Woodstock, McHenry County, Illinois. The building includes the county courthouse and other functions of county government. Creative Commons photo.

The McHenry County Board has postponed voting on a new flag policy that could bar flying the LGBTQ Pride flag during June.

The Daily Herald reported that the board voted voted 17-6 on Tuesday to postpone creating a flag policy for McHenry County government buildings.

According to the newspaper, it effectively rejects the policy.

Both board and community members had objected to the proposed policy.

Jessica Phillips, an out bisexual member of the county board, said there was no other way to view the policy except as an attack to the pride flag, especially since it was proposed after the end of Pride month.

“One day, I hope we won’t have to fly that flag, and we can just fly the American flag to show acceptance and unity and justice for all. Until that day comes, this flag needs to be flown,” Phillips said, according to the Herald.

The policy was proposed by Jeff Thorsen, a Republican. The newspaper reported that he acknowledges the concerns but still defended the policy. He said the flag policy was necessary to give the county some formal position when requests for special flags were made.

“We are pleased the McHenry County Board did the right thing and tabled the proposed harmful flag policy,” said Mike Ziri, public policy director for Equality Illinois. “This is a victory by the LGBTQ and allied residents of McHenry County who organized and pushed back. We are especially grateful for LGBTQ people, like out McHenry County Board member Jes Phillips, who shared their stories of growing up LGBTQ and defining what it means to them and their families to see the Pride flag boldly flying in the community. While the policy is currently tabled, we will keep an eye on McHenry County as well as any other unit of local government who may pursue such a policy that would target the visibility of LGBTQ people in their communities. American values of inclusion and equality must prevail.”