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Boonton Enforces Flag Restrictions at Town Hall

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BOONTON — Boonton town officials recently voted to amend a controversial ordinance concerning flag displays on municipal property. The revised ordinance now prohibits the flying of the Pride flag outside Boonton Town Hall, limiting it to only the American flag and the POW flag. This decision has stirred discontent among some residents. The final vote was 6-3 in favor of passing Ordinance 8-24. Ms. Maris DeVenzia, Mr. Jacob Hettrich and Mr. Benjamin Weisman voted against approving this ordinance.

Click here to read the entire ordinance.

The ordinance reads “To establish the Town of Boonton policy governing the display of flags by the Town on flag poles on Town property and upon stages and podiums at Town sponsored events. Town-owned flag poles are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression by the public and are for official purposes.”

In response, a grassroots movement has emerged, known as Rainbow Main Street, aiming to cover as much sidewalk as possible with Pride symbolism to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. The group emphasized the temporary nature of chalk art, paralleling it with the impermanence of safe spaces. The group believes that by strategically placing the chalk art, individuals will be confronted with the message, sparking awareness and discussion.

Resident Peter Notho said “I’ve been a resident of Boonton for over 40 years; I am a Vietnam vet. This town is always welcomed to everyone regardless of religion, race, sexual identification, etc., The American flag and state-mandated flags are all-inclusive. Having an ordinance that would allow other flags to fly with the American Flag simply opens up the opportunity for every group, movement, or idea to follow. We are all Americans under one flag and we don’t need to identify every group, religion, sex, movement, etc. that wants to be recognized.”

The main request from the community members involved in Rainbow Main Street is to have the Pride flag flown below the American flag and POW flag at Town Hall for the month of June, in recognition of Pride Month.

“We strongly encourage a council not to replace the current flag with the one proposed the newly truncated list of government and military entities reflect to perversely limited. Our town slogan is ‘small town, big heart’ saying the desire is to avoid the potential for intended consequences. Makes sense in this word, it eliminates public observance is a national holiday for example was that the goal of the owned flag may not be intended to serve as a warm for express expression by the public. We can see no reason whatsoever or to be replaced,” Michael and Alexandra Owens.

On the other hand, town officials defend the updated town code, stating that it aims to clarify policies and procedures to prevent unintended consequences. However, the decision continues to be a source of contention within the Boonton community.

You can click here to view portions of the meeting.

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Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.
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