Statement from Councilman Jim Dunleavy regarding Teaneck Pride

“People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts”

Inaccurate statements have indicated that council said no to raising the Pride Flag.

I wish to correct the record – THIS IS NOT TRUE

On behalf of my Council colleagues I want to thank everyone for coming out to the Township Council Meeting last night. This is how democracy works!

I want to inform everyone of what actions the Council has taken regarding the issue of raising the Pride Flag and other LBGTQ concerns.

At the June meeting, legal council advised the Township that without having a policy regarding the raising of flags, any flags, we run a risk of exposure to arguments of viewpoint discrimination if we choose to fly certain flags, but not others. This risk is especially acute when the area in question is used by groups on a regular basis, such as the Municipal green.

Responding to the legal advice, council has instructed our lawyers to craft such a policy, so we may fly flags of our choosing. To clarify, the Council, at their June Meeting DID NOT SAY NO TO RAISING THE PRIDE FLAG.

While it is true that towns around us have raised various flags, they either have a legally vetted policy in place or have created an unnecessary potential issue, should a legal challenge arise.

We have a responsibility to act in the best interest of the Township.

There are two ordinances forthcoming. One establishing a policy for flags and another to form an advisory body.

Last night, we introduced an ordinance to form a Pride Advisory Board with a broad mandate to advise the Council on LBGTQ issues. I am unaware of any other municipality having such a group. While some may think Pride month began and ended in June, the community lives here, every day of the year. This will be an ongoing group with a mandate to address issues that arise and I was proud to vote for it.

At our August 13th meeting we will introduce the second ordinance that outlines the flag policy. I anticipate that at our September meeting both the Pride Advisory Board and the policy will be in place. Let’s move forward together at that point.

We will not wait until next year. We never intended to. As I’ve mentioned previously, once the policy is approved, I will move a motion to raise the Pride flag immediately, in a manner which is consistent with our policy.

Only two members of the public communicated with me directly regarding the Pride Flag Issue. Without such dialogue, a vacuum was created and many inaccurate accusations were flying around town.

Lets get out of our silos and talk to each other! We are neighbors. I and all my council colleagues can be reached the same way as all our email addresses are at the township website. Together, we can take Teaneck to a place where we will be even more proud of our town than we are now!