FLEMINGTON, NJ – June has long been observed as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Pride Month, something acknowledged in a proclamation by President Bill Clinton in 1999 and President Barrack Obama in 2009.
This year, Flemington Borough Council joined others in recognizing the month-long celebration, which happens in June and honors the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan.
The riots were a tipping point for the nation’s gay rights movement.
Borough Council’s resolution recognizing LGBTI Pride month was a last-minute addition to Monday’s meeting agenda. It was proposed by Councilperson Betsy Driver, seconded by Councilperson Brooke Warden and approved by Council unanimously.
The change added the resolution to the evening’s “consent agenda.”
Consent agendas are used to streamline public meetings. Items on the consent agenda are considered so routine that they do not warrant separate discussion or debate. When a councilperson requests such a discussion, the item is removed from the consent agenda and added to the regular agenda.
But on Monday, no such discussion was requested, and the resolution was approved without fanfare.
Council’s resolution notes the borough “values the importance and value of diversity among its citizens, employees and business owners” and that “LGBTQI residents, employees and business owners in Flemington have worked hard to make our community a welcoming and diverse community.”
It also states that the borough “encourages the work of advocates” who work towards equality for all and that it “continues to encourage all individuals to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.”
LGBTI Pride Month events “attract millions of participants around the world” according to the Library of Congress.
“Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS,” the library states on its website. “The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.”
While the designation may have been routine for Council, news of the resolution sparked debate on social media, and Facebook in particular. Some objectors felt that Council had more important business to address, others objected to Pride Month categorically.
The matter is personal for Driver, who is internationally recognized as an advocate for LGBTI individuals. When she won election to Council last year, she noted that she believed she was the first openly intersex person to win election in the U.S.
In his proclamation, Clinton called diversity the nation’s “ greatest strength.” Obama asked Americans “to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists.”