When the Rainbow flag was chosen as the symbol for LGBT rights across the world, the use of the seven colours of the rainbow was chosen to represent peace, unity and something that brings people together under a common banner seen flying across the sky. The concept: togetherness, humanity. Not political nay-saying, discrimination or segregation. For that, a skull and crossbones might have sufficed.
But it is the very image of the seven hues of the colour spectrum that have been causing controversy recently by being flown on the flagpole of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, we learn from the New York Times.
It seems that in identifying itself as an equal-rights employer, during the month when many global cities host celebratory LGBT-pride events, the bank based in Virginia was drawing a line in the stand between liberals and conservatives:
'Bob Marshall, a Republican in the House of Delegates and an outspoken opponent on gay rights issues, was moved to write a letter to the bank’s president, saying that the flag was inappropriate for a quasi-governmental entity.'
'Gay and lesbian 'behavior,' he wrote, 'undermines the American economy, shortens lives, adds significantly to illness, increases health costs, promotes venereal diseases,' among other things.'
''Jim Strader, a spokesman for the bank, said the bank had fielded hundreds of phone calls and as many e-mails about the flag. The flag, he said, symbolizes 'values of being open and inclusive,' and shows that the bank is 'a place that doesn’t discriminate.''
Who would have thought that the rainbow could be such a powerful symbol?