Chicopee John Posted April 8, 2010 Report Share Posted April 8, 2010 Connecticut State Capitol To Fly Flag Adopted By Tea Party The Hartford Courant April 8, 2010 Emblem of a divisive and controversial political movement or historic symbol of American defiance? Those are two views of the Gadsden Flag, the bright yellow banner adorned with the image of a coiled rattlesnake and the words "Don't Tread on Me." The flag has been adopted by tea party activists, who have unfurled it at rallies across the nation, and some Republican members of Congress, who hung it from a balcony at the U.S. Capitol before a vote on the health care overhaul. On Friday, the flag will fly over the state Capitol — and that doesn't sit well with one veteran lawmaker. "Generally speaking, most people would agree the top of the Capitol is not the place for partisan political flags," said state Rep. Michael Lawlor, a Democrat from East Haven and co-chairman of the legislature's judiciary committee. The Connecticut Tea Party Patriots, a loose-knit group of activists from across the state, received permission from the state Capitol police to fly the flag from Friday through April 15. The state's policy regarding flags specifies that only flags from the U.S., its states or territories, recognized Indian tribes, nations with which the U.S. has diplomatic relations and military organizations can fly at the highly visible spot over the state Capitol. The Gadsden Flag dates to 1775 and is named for Christopher Gadsden, a delegate to the Continental Congress. It has long been associated with the U.S. Marine Corps, and that apparently was why it got the Capitol OK. "It is within the parameters set within the policy," said Walter Lee, acting chief of the Capitol police department. "It is a recognized military flag." Lawlor said the flag is now associated with the tea party movement. The group will gather for a flag-raising ceremony Friday, and afterward candidates endorsed by the Connecticut Tea Party Patriots will host a press conference. "It doesn't sound like this is an event honoring the Marine Corps," Lawlor said. Patriots coordinator Tanya Bachand rejects the notion that her group has a partisan agenda, even though it is supporting candidates in the November election. She says the group isn't allied with Republicans or Democrats, but rather is focused on promoting grass-roots activism. "It's a nice encapsulation of the American spirit," Bachand said. "We are a strong-willed, independent people and given the chance, we can flourish." The debate harkens back to another flag controversy that erupted at the Capitol in 1999. Gay rights received permission to fly the rainbow flag, which drew criticism from socially conservative lawmakers and resulted in the policy limiting what flags can be hoisted at the highly visible spot. The Capitol flagpole "really should be limited to honoring countries and causes that are completely non-partisan and non controversial,'' Lawlor said. Copyright © 2010, Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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