WESTFIELD, NJ — For the first time in its history, the town raised a rainbow flag in support of LGBTQ Pride Month.

More than 50 people turned out for the flag-raising ceremony in front of Town Hall Tuesday, where members of the high school’s Gender and Sexuality Club spoke along with municipal officials.

“While society at large increasingly supports LGBTQ, discrimination and prejudice still exists, highlighting the need for continuing education and awareness efforts,” said Mayor Shelley Brindle shortly before the flag raising.

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Abbie Painter, president of the Gender and Sexuality club at Westfield High School, spoke to those gathered about the importance of recognizing Pride Month.

“Given the state of our current [federal] administration that tends to be not so welcoming to people of a different race, color, ethnicity, sexuality and gender, it is important to fly a flag that celebrates everyone because everyone is welcome here,” Painter said.

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Councilwoman Dawn Mackey noted the strong turnout in Westfield Tuesday.

“I am so thrilled at this turnout,” Mackey said. “This was so important to me to have this celebration and it shows you that the community wants to come out and be supportive and I could not be happier.”

Westfield is among a handful of municipalities in Union County who either have raised or will be raising the rainbow flag in the coming days in support of LGBTQ Pride Month, said Danni Newbury, coordinator of Union County's Office of LGBTQ Affairs, who was at the event to support the local effort.

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh