Perhaps seeing the backlash Enfield received recently from banning Pride flags, the Republican-led Suffield Town Council is seeking to institute what many see as a backdoor policy to codify discrimination in the town—particularly against LGBTQ+ people and groups. In 2021, the Board of Selectmen had already banned any flags other than American or State flags from town flagpoles, which was widely interpreted as a first salvo against the LGBTQ+ community in the town.
The proposed model—which is subject to change—would require a 30-day prior application and insurance of $1 Million. According to coverage of the meeting and the proposal in CT Insider, First Selectman Colin Moll claims that it doesn’t prohibit groups, but it is our opinion that this is a fig leaf because the application process and insurance requirements as proposed are high—and possibly prohibitive. They also potentially run athwart the First Amendment right for people to “peaceably assemble” by putting onerous limits on such assembly. While CT Insider quotes Moll as saying that the move is to avoid lawsuits, this could potentially open the town to First Amendment suits, and actions if the proposal is adopted and is not applied consistently.
It’s important to note that this is just a proposal at this writing. We will follow up when the town publishes the minutes of the meetings and/or presents a model of public comment. Nonetheless, in light of Enfield’s recent move, this is potentially concerning for LGBTQ+ individuals and groups.
In the meantime, you can contact the First Selectman at 860-668-3880 or his assistant’s direct number at 860-668-3838 or provide written feedback via the town’s website here to express opinions on this issue.