A judge ruled recently the city of Boston is not required to fly the Christian flag, despite having flown nearly 300 other flags at City Hall.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper denied a summary judgement from Harold Shurtleff and his Camp Constitution organization after suing the city for rejecting its request to fly a Christian flag on the City Hall flagpole.
The city’s leaders have argued flying the Christian flag would constitute the government favoring a particular religion. The Camp Constitution suit, however, stated the city has flown the Turkish flag several times despite its Islamic symbolism, according to the Boston Herald.
In addition, the city has flown the Cuban, Chinese, and Vatican flags in front of its municipal buildings. The city has also hoisted the LGBTQ rainbow flag.
An attorney for Boston argued the city is allowed to have control over what flags fly on the City Hall flagpoles, as they are a form of government speech. While Shurtleff has claimed the city’s 284 flag raisings between 2005 and 2017 prove its leaders had not previously denied a request, the lawyer for Boston said most of the flags have been for other countries or as civic symbols, like the LGBTQ flag.
Casper wrote in her decision that nothing came to light “that would suggest any improper preference for non-religion over religion or selective treatment of any person or group based on religion.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) said in a statement the city has “never” raise a religious flag at City Hall.
“Camp Constitution’s request to fly the ‘Christian’ flag (as it is labeled by the organization), which bears the Latin cross … should be denied, because … the flag sends an overt religious message, and could reasonably be construed to be an endorsement of Christianity by the City, which would be a violation of the Establishment Clause,” he added.
Shurtleff said he plans to appeal the judge’s decision and will take the issue all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.