Boston can raise LGBT flags, while rejecting Christian flags, judge rules

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(091417 Boston, MA) An image of a Christian flag that the group "Camp Constitution" has asked to fly at Boston City Hall Plaza. Courtesy of Camp Constitution

A federal judge has ruled that while the city of Boston can fly a flag at City Hall celebrating homosexuality and transgenderism, raising a banner representing Christianity would violate the Constitution.

Harold Shurtleff and his Camp Constitution organization filed a federal suit in 2018, the Boston Herald reported last week, after the city denied their request to fly the Christian flag at City Hall Plaza in 2017. Camp Constitution describes itself as a Christian group.

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper denied a judgment for Shurtleff.

Shurtleff said the city has flown 284 various flags in the same location between 2005 and 2017, proof that it had not previously denied a request. The city responded that most of the flags raised were of other countries or civic symbols, such as the LGBTQ flag.

The City Hall Plaza poles fly the United States and Massachusetts flags, a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action flag and the city of Boston’s flag on the third pole, which is replaced by various “guest” flags.

A statement issued from Mayor Marty Walsh’s office said “the flag sends an overt religious message, and could reasonably be construed to be an endorsement of Christianity by the City, which would be a violation of the Establishment Clause.”

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