Local Democrats express support for Pride flag displays and the LGBTQ+ community

June 21, 20232

WCDP demands that Rep. Harshbarger withdraw H.R. 4196 and stop her attacks on queer people

(Johnson City, Tenn.) – The Washington County Democratic Party (WCDP) condemns yet another attempt by the Republican Party to shove LGBTQ+ people back into the closet, deny them visibility and humanity, and create a threatening climate for queer people in the United States. Representative Diana Harshbarger (TN-1) filed H.R. 4196 this week, a bill to “prohibit the flying, draping, or other display of any flag other than the flag of the United States at public buildings, and for other purposes.” Her public comments specifically cast this bill in response to the White House flying a rainbow flag in honor of Pride month.

Thus, we ask, why is Diana Harshbarger legislating limits to people’s freedoms?

In 2022, Rep. Harshbarger voted against H.R. 8404, the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriages. “Rep. Harshbarger continues her anti-LGBTQ+ crusade. It’s not enough for her and Republicans to vote against our right to marry or to deprive us of access to care, they seek to erase us from public view,” said Sylvain Bruni, chair of WCDP, who himself is gay. “They tried to criminalize drag shows earlier this year in Tennessee, but we fought back, and a Trump-appointed federal judge ruled it was unconstitutional. Our community will advocate fiercely against H.R. 4196: The federal government shouldn’t trample on our freedom to live or love how we choose.”

Local Democrats will proudly participate in the Rainbow Festival on Saturday, June 24 in Johnson City, and the TriPride Festival and Parade in September. “More than ever, it is important to support LGBTQ+ visibility in our community, and, as Democrats, to stand in solidarity,” said Shelley Van Camp, WCDP Executive Committee member and a straight ally to the queer community. “Celebrating Pride has brought us closer to equality, we cannot turn back.”

We invite the public to call Rep. Harshbarger’s office at 202.225.6356 and ask for her to withdraw this dangerous, discriminatory bill.


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  • Nancy Fischman

    June 21, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    The White House did not fly the rainbow flag, and it was not flown in place of an American flag as stated in the email that was sent out yesterday to Harshberger’s email list. It was draped between two American flags on the White House balcony, with the American flag and the POW/MIA flag flying above the White House on a flagpole. Rep Harshberger was incorrect in stating that the display of the rainbow flag was against the flag code. It was not, as can be verified at VerifyThis.com. You might change this to say: “Her public comments specifically cast this bill in response to the White House displaying a rainbow flag in honor of Pride month.”


  • Martha Moore Beamer

    June 22, 2023 at 10:53 am

    Thank you for your support of LGBGQT+ persons to live their lives freely and in peace, without intimidation and repression.


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