The Town of North Hempstead will fly a Pride flag...

The Town of North Hempstead will fly a Pride flag outside town hall for the rest of June, reversing an earlier decision by Supervisor Jennifer DeSena's administration. Credit: Newsday/Joshua Needelman

The Town of North Hempstead will fly a Pride flag outside town hall for the rest of June, reversing an earlier decision by Supervisor Jennifer DeSena's administration to do so only for a few days, according to a town spokesman.

For the past three years, the rainbow-colored flag that symbolizes the LGBTQ+ community has flown there for all of June, according to Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte.

Pride Month, a celebration of LGBTQ+ culture and rights, is marked in June. It has roots in the 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of violent New York City protests after police raided a gay bar and patrons refused to leave quietly.

Town spokesman Umberto Mignardi said in a statement Wednesday that earlier this year, DeSena's administration “established what we hoped was a fair policy in regards to flag raising protocol, one that would help call attention to each cause without showing any partiality.”

Mignardi told Newsday previously that protocol was to fly all flags — other than U.S. and POW/MIA flags, which fly year-round — no more than 48 hours.

“But given the concerns expressed by our LGBTQ+ community, the policy will be suspended and the Pride flag will continue to fly through the month of June,” Mignardi said Wednesday.

Dalimonte and fellow Democratic Councilwoman Christine Liu said in interviews that DeSena, a Democrat who caucuses with Republicans, previously told town board members the plan was to fly the Pride flag for just one day.

Dalimonte, a vocal opponent of the administration's original flag decision, said Wednesday she was pleased with the reversal but the issue “should've never gotten to this point.”

The issue emerged during a June 4 town board meeting. It seemed to illustrate tensions simmering among members of a board whose members became aligned by a slim majority in January with DeSena.

Before the meeting, legislators took part in a ceremonial flag raising. A town video archive shows a member of the public then asked DeSena during the meeting how long the flag would be up. For a “few days,” she replied.

“Having a protocol is a good thing,” DeSena said as legislators began to discuss the issue. “Then everyone knows we’re not treating one group with more care than another group.” 

Over a din of crosstalk between Dalimonte and DeSena, Councilman Dennis Walsh, a Republican, jumped to DeSena's defense and said Dalimonte was looking to “start an argument.”

The issue arose again at a June 11 town board meeting after another member of the public expressed displeasure with the initial decision.

DeSena and Walsh asked if the speaker was aligned with their political opponents, with Walsh suggesting the speaker was there “to attack the supervisor.”

Frank Bua, 54, a Manhasset resident and LGBTQ+ community member, said Wednesday he was happy with the reversal. 

“If you're a gay kid and you see that flag flying in the Town of North Hempstead hall … you can see, 'There's a space for me.'” 

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

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