Taylor, TX – June 12, 2019 – Williamson County Justice Court Precinct 4 Stacy Hackenberg and Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 KT Musselman are asking the Williamson County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, June 18, for permission to fly the rainbow Pride flag in June and the POW/MIA flag the week of Veteran’s Day.
June is the national month for LGBTQ+ Pride. The judges want to publicly display a sign of their commitment to be welcoming and ensure that justice is applied to all constituents regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.
“The Pride flag is an immensely important symbol, particularly during Pride Month. It says to all LGBTQ+ residents in Williamson County Precinct 4 that they are welcome at the court,” said Justice of the Peace Judge Stacy Hackenberg, who identifies as queer. “I am excited to celebrate this affirmation of inclusion and communicate a message of love and acceptance, proclaiming that all people – no matter who they are or who they love – are welcome and celebrated in our community.”
“Symbols are important. The Pride and POW/MIA flags are widely recognized symbols of underserved and marginalized communities in our country,” said Justice of the Peace KT Musselman. “We can send a signal that everyone should expect equal access to justice and fair treatment from their Williamson County government.”
2019 is a historic year for the LGBTQ+ community as it marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, New York. Members of the gay community rioted against police who conducted raids during an anti-gay era.
The rainbow flag, also known as the Pride flag, was created in 1978 by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker. The flag is an iconic symbol of the gay community and today is globally recognized as a symbol to further the movement towards equal rights for all regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.
The judges also ask permission to fly the POW/MIA (Prisoners of War/Missing in Action) flag during the week of Veteran's Day.
“We want to demonstrate our respect to those soldiers who have not returned from war, who were captured and held prisoner during combat, and their comrades in arms who are honored members of our communities,” said Hackenberg.
If the commissioners approve flying the flags, the Pride flags will be added to the flag poles in front of the county buildings in Round Rock and Taylor and fly through the end of June.
Both the Pride and POW/MIA flags will be purchased with private funds. No taxpayer dollars will be used.
Current county policy allows for the United States and Texas flags to be flown outside county buildings. This request would allow the judges to fly a third flag below the Texas flag with the commissioners court’s permission.
A 2017 Gallup poll concluded that 4.5 percent of adult Americans identify as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender). According to the United States Veterans Administration, an estimated 38,300 veterans live in Williamson County.