A member of Congress has renewed the call for legislation protecting LGBT Americans after a Pride flag was ripped down outside his office.
Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California revealed today that an unnamed man threw the rainbow flag outside his Capitol Hill offices on the ground yesterday and stomped on it, calling it "disgusting and immoral."
“The fact that someone would grab a flag that they didn’t like and not just throw it on the ground, but stomp all over it... it’s certainly shocking,” Lowenthal, vice chair of the House LGBT Caucus, told the L.A. Times.
His staffers directed Capitol police to speak with the man, but "they told us he didn’t break any rules or any laws, so they let him go,” he said.
Lowenthal, who represents Long Beach, has had the flag on view since 2013, and believes he is the first member of Congress to do so. While he's received positive feedback about it, he added that this was the first negative reaction. “I just think it’s terrible. I’m just shocked that it happened. It just reinforces my belief that more work needs to be done.”
An outspoken ally to the LGBT community, Lowenthal states on his website that he is committed "to working with my colleagues towards the extension of equal rights, the repeal of discriminatory laws, the elimination of hate-motivated violence, and the improved health and well-being for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”
More specifically, he is a supporter of the 2015 Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, education, public accommodations, and other areas. The measure was introduced in the House and Senate in July 2015, and received the support of President Obama, and Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but has floundered without much Republican backing.
On Twitter, other Democratic members of Congress called out the flag incident as an act of hate.
"The rise in violent attacks on minority groups has hit home in the U.S. Capitol," wrote Rep. Ted Lieu, who sponsored legislation than banned conversion therapy in California. "We cannot allow this to be the new normal #standwithLGBT."
"[The] LGBT pride flag is a symbol of equality and freedom," tweeted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. "The attack on [the flag] at Rep Lowenthal’s office is an attack on our values as a nation."