Mo. County Voted Against Lowering Flags for Orlando Victims

Commissioners did a U-turn after public outcry
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2016 1:42 AM CDT
Mo. County Voted Against Lowering Flags for Orlando Victims
The American flag flies at half-staff over the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Pulse Orlando shooting was the worst mass shooting in US history and the deadliest terror attack in the US since 9/11—but commissioners in one Missouri county decided it didn't merit lowering flags to half-staff. By a 2-1 vote, Cole County commissioners decided against lowering flags on county buildings, despite President Obama's proclamation that the US flag should be at half-staff "upon all public buildings and grounds" until sunset Thursday to honor the victims, the Kansas City Star reports. The county's decision was swiftly reversed after a public outcry that included plenty of phone calls to county officials.

"Lowering it too much takes away from the honor," Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher told the Jefferson City News Tribune. "I feel for these victims and for their families, but I don't feel this was a time for the flag to be lowered." Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle added: "I want to honor those who have served our country, but we can't lower it for every event like this that occurs." They denied that their position had anything to do with the fact that many of the victims were gay. A spokeswoman for Promo, Missouri's largest LGBT rights organization, tells the Star that the county's rejection of the president's proclamation was "beyond hurtful to the victims and their families and the entire LGBT community." (More Pulse Orlando shooting stories.)

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