Community Church Replaces Vandalized Flag

By Meg Weisselberg

The gay pride flag flying in front of the Community Church of Mill Valley, located across from Old Mill Park, was replaced on September 18 after it was stolen on August 23. The thief also twisted the flag’s metal pole, rendering it useless. This vandalism followed another incident earlier in the month, in which the flag was smeared with oil.

“We put up the flag… basically just as a way of advertising that we were open for [gay] weddings again, and we were hoping that people would notice,” church member and flag donor Bob Harmon said.

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FLYING PROUD: The Community Church of Mill Valley supports gay rights.
photo by: Sarah Asch

Harmon and his husband Bob Larson married in the church in 2008. Now that California’s Prop 8 ban on gay marriage has been overturned, the church will perform same-sex weddings again.

Senior Lauren Magney lives across the street from the Church and appreciated the flag.

“I’m very open minded so I thought it was a great thing to do,” she said. The flag’s removal frustrated Magney. “I think it’s incredibly rude of someone to do that,” she said. “It’s 2013. People [need to] get over it.”

“Nothing has really changed [since the flag was stolen] in terms of who we are,” church Pastor Pam Shortridge said. “We are an opening and affirming congregation that welcomes everyone. And the rainbow flag is one way to say that, and we’ll continue to say it, so we’ll just put up another flag.”

In order to prevent further vandalism the flag was moved higher up on the building and out of reach.

Many in the community appreciate that the church is so accepting.

“Not a lot of churches support gay rights, and to see that a church in our community respects those rights is truly amazing,” sophomore Audrey Romjue said.

Senior Lecya Tyaglo, president of the Gay-Straight Alliance Club, also appreciated the church’s support of the LGBTQ+ community and was upset that the flag was stolen. “I’m a little shocked someone went out of their way in doing that,” Tyaglo said.

As of now, it is unknown who is responsible for the vandalism. “[The police] have been very concerned and very courteous,” Shortridge said. “But we have no idea who did it or why.”

These acts of vandalism give the community a chance to prove that hate crimes towards the LGBTQ+ community will not be tolerated.

“At this point, we are engaging in an act of solidarity,” Harmon said. “The church is just basically standing with people that are a part of the community and we would like them to see us doing that.”