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Openly Gay Richmond Councilmember Surprised By Backlash Over Pride Flag

RICHMOND (KCBS)— The first openly gay city council member in Richmond said she never expected a backlash from raising the rainbow gay pride flag at city hall, especially since it's not the first time the flag has flown there.

When the Prop. 8 and Defense of Marriage Act cases went to the Supreme Court, the same flag was raised to no complaints.

Last week, according to Council member Jovanka Beckles, an email went out to city employees about raising the flag. Again there was no full council hearing, but this time there was a different reaction.

"It was mentioned in the email that it was just going to be flown for the month of June and they still were just angry about it," she said.

Beckles said a few city employees objected to raising the rainbow flag in honor Gay Pride Month.

On Monday the flag remained, and Beckles said she's not taking it down until the end of June.

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said there is no deviation here from city policy.

"It's actually right in line with the city council's adoption of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We did this in 2009," she said.

Openly Gay Richmond City Councilmember Didn't Expect Backlash Over Raising Pride Flag

Since then, the mayor said the declaration was updated to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

This Tuesday night, a proclamation honoring Pride Month and the LGBTQ community goes before the full city council.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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