Democrat and Chronicle
July 17, 2013
The city of Rochester will display gay pride week banners this week, but the county will not.
The Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley asked Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks to display a pride flag this week. Brooks refused, saying it’s not county practice to “fly ‘issue-based’ or ‘advocacy’ flags” at the county building. She instead issued a proclamation marking July 19, 2013, as “Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley Day” in Monroe County. The proclamation praises the group for creating an inclusive environment and offering programs to the community.
Despite the proclamation, the response angered gay rights advocates and Democrats in the County Legislature. Activist Ove Overmyer said it meant she was politicizing the lifestyle of some Rochester residents. “My person-hood should not be labeled ‘an issue,’ ” Overmyer wrote in a letter to Brooks. “Issues are trying to figure out the most cost-effective way to fix a pothole and how to balance budgets. It is not reserved for defining community members by injecting identity politics and highlighting what makes us different as people.”
In a release, Legislature minority leader Carrie Andrews, D-Rochester, noted that the county once denied a same-sex couple health benefits, resulting in a lawsuit.