SAYREVILLE – For the first time in borough history, an LGBT pride flag will be raised in Sayreville for the remainder of June.
On June 22, the Borough Council voted 4-2 on a motion to have a flag representing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) pride flown in Sayreville. Council members Vincent Conti, Kevin Dalina, Damon Enriquez and Michele Maher voted “yes” on the motion. Council President Mary Novak and Councilwoman Donna Roberts, citing that the action could force the governing body to accept all proposals to raise flags for groups, voted “no”.
The council’s action followed a letter submitted by resident Carol Kulikowski seeking to have a LGBT flag flown in June, which is pride month for the community. Dalina made a motion to have the flag raised, which was seconded by Enriquez.
In voting “no” on the motion, Novak said, “I believe we’re going to start having a lot of groups wanting their flags put up. Once you say yes to one, you have to say yes to everybody and I don’t think that I would want to get involved with a lot of the other flags out there.
“I remember once we were asked to fly something for breast cancer awareness and we said they could put pink ribbons all over the town, but that we couldn’t fly a flag,” she continued. “We’ve already said no at one point.”
Sharing the council president’s stance on the motion, Roberts said, “We’re opening up the floodgates and special interests now, which means we have to consider any special interest.”
There was also concern over whether a flag would need to be taken down to make room for the LGBT flag, although Dalina, who is the event manager and an adjunct professor at Middlesex County College, noted that no flags are removed when the LGBT flag is flown at the community college.
Conti agreed that a precedent could be set by allowing the LGBT flag to be flown, but ultimately voted “yes” out of support for the community.
“If we are not taking down other flags, and I don’t think that we would, and at the risk of creating problems down the line with other organizations, I’ll cautiously say yes,” Conti said. “I want to support the [LGBT] organization.”
Dalina, Enriquez and Maher joined Conti in approving the motion, establishing that the flag would be flown for the remainder of the month.
Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick, who could only vote to break ties, also voiced support for raising the LGBT flag in Sayreville.
After the council’s vote, Kilpatrick said, “Obviously, we’re not in favor of removing any flags, but it would be an addition for the month of June, for the next several days. We here in Sayreville will display and show our support and pridefulness to the LGBT community.”