Gay College Group Accused Of “Desecrating” American Flag With Rainbow Stripes

mtsu-rainbowThis month, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its LGBT student organization, MT Lambda. To commemorate the occasion, MT Lambda has created a display in the lobby of the campus library, which includes artifact’s from the group’s history. One item—an American flag with rainbow stripes that the group has used for several years—suddenly is causing controversy.

According to Nashville’s News Channel 5, complaints about the offending flag began trickling into the MTSU dean’s office shortly after MT Lambda installed the retrospective. Those opposed to the flag charge that it violates laws against desecrating the American flag.

MTSU spokesman Andrew Oppmann told News Channel 5 that the university had done its due diligence to ensure that the MT Lambda’s inclusion of the flag was protected free speech and did not violate any laws. “We wanted… to make sure through legal counsel and through the attorney generals that this was properly, constitutionally respected, protected speech,” Oppmann explained. “And it is.”

“It’s a symbol of pride for our community,” added MT Lambda president Joshua Rigsby. “It’s really caught us by surprise that this flag has caused so much controversy, because in essence it’s not an American flag. It’s symbolic of that… Desecrating an American flag would entail ripping, or shredding, or burning an actual 13 red and white strip American flag, and that’s not what this is.”

Tennessee isn’t exactly a bastion of queer equality. Last March, an MTSU poll found that 62 percent of people in the state oppose equal marriage, and 31 percent support a law that would make it illegal to talk about homosexuality in elementary and middle schools.

At the same time, MTSU historically has maintained a tough resolve when faced with backlash against its LGBT community. MT Lambda was founded in 1988, when support for queer rights was virtually nonexistent in Tennessee. More recently, in April 2012, the university funded a pro-gay marriage video directed by Professor Bob Pondillo. Pondillo cast child actors as adults in the short, which triggered cries of corrupting innocents. The university refused to cede to pressure to withhold the video.

Now, true to form, MTSU has no plans to take down the rainbow flag in MT Lambda’s library display, letting homophobes on campus know that those colors, like a proper queen’s mascara, do not run.

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  • 2eo

    Name the people who complained. Well there names will be made public knowledge anyway obviously.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Sympathies to the poor WASP conservatives in TN! If they were not so backward in their thinking, they would be much more able to handle marriage equality when it hits the southern tier of states within the next < five years! Then we'll hear squeals of pain, oh my!

  • scotshot

    Why hasn’t anyone pointed out the American flag has 50 stars on a blue field and 13 red and white stripes?

    The gay flag of course, has 50 stripes on a blue background and 6 multicolored stripes.

    Why is this a big deal? If you color the 6 stripes red and white you wouldn’t have an American flag. Look at other nation’s flags. Many have the exact same design design using different colors. Check out the red white and blue flags from other countries.

  • Harley

    Dogs this mean I can’t wear my American flag diaper anymore?

  • jwrappaport

    It doesn’t matter if they’re desecrating the flag (which they clearly weren’t): it’s protected speech under the First Amendment. It has been so for almost a quarter-century, and the laws prohibiting at are unconstitutional. Full stop.

  • Mr. E. Jones

    I remember seeing a picture of Bush 43 autographing American flags at a rally. Do these students have an issue with that?

  • Dakotahgeo

    As a dyslexic drunk, for GWBunnypants to even sign his name is a miracle! Leave him alone, lol.

  • multitasker

    @Dakotahgeo: W has earned many derision on many counts, but your comment is uncalled for and no better. You deride him for his getting clean once addicted to drugs and alcohol? You use his dyslexia as an insult? I see your lol and presume you’re trying to be humorous, but you haven’t succeeded in putting HIM down, for he will likely never see your comment; but hundreds or thousands of addicts in recovery and dyslexic persons who are managing to navigate a world that demeans them every day have/will read your comment. Congratulations on being an ass to people overcoming adversity.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @multitasker: I was referring ONLY to GWBunnypants, and no other addicts or mentally challenged people. My comments stand! YOU lose!

Comments are closed.