An openly gay school board member in Jersey City, New Jersey, donned an American LGBT Pride flag during a meeting Thursday night in response to hateful comments from witnesses.
“Tonight, members of three religious groups came to the School Board meeting to attack the LGBTQ community,” Gerald Lyons wrote later on Facebook. “I borrowed this American rainbow flag … to wear until closed session in support. I really wish people would stop using God’s name to sow hate. The flag goes well with my patriotic Elks tie. The fight isn’t over.”
The Jersey Journal reports that members of the Coptic Christian, Muslim, and Orthodox Jewish communities showed up to testify against state-mandated LGBT curriculum. New Jersey recently became the second state to require LGBT curriculum, but many who attended the meeting were unaware that local school districts are bound by law to provide it.
Johnny Yacob, a Coptic Christian, falsely alleged that pioneering gay activist Harvey Milk was a pedophile. Elizor Richtor, a Hasidic Jew, claimed schools are teaching children to be gay. “Martin Luther King is turning over in his grave that people think this is what he meant he said equality,” Richtor said.
At one point, in response to Lyons’ decision to wear the Pride flag, a witness approached the board and stared him down.
“Do you have an issue? Do you want to sit back down?” Lyons said. “Did I sit while you were talking spewing your hatred? I did.”