Missouri’s Dent County Commissioners, Darrell Skiles (R), Dennis Purcell (R), and Gary Larson (R), have voted, unanimously, to lower the flag of the United States of America to “below half staff” on the 26th day of each month through June 2016. They are taking this action to, as SalemNewsOnline.com reports,
“to observe one year of “mourning” over the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision that gay couples have the constitutional right to marriage.
The vote came after Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles filed a letter into the public record protesting, “the U.S. high court’s stamp of approval of what God speaks of as an abomination.”
The letter details Skiles’ opposition to gay marriage and proposes lowering of the flags so “all who see these flags at this lowered position be reminded of this despicable Supreme Court travesty,” he wrote.
The commissioners, who are the equivalent of our County Board of Supervisors, took the vote on Monday, July 13, 2015. Reaction was swift.
Someone has already “updated” the County’s Wikipedia page:
Dent County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri.
As of July 13, 2015, Dent County is known as the most bigoted, homophobic, hillbilly county in Missouri. Any tourists looking to do a float trip should patronize an outfitter in one of the surrounding counties, which have nicer floating streams anyway. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,657. The largest city and county seat is Salem. The county was officially organized on February 10, 1851 by Dustin Counts & Nicholas Berardy, and is named after state representative Lewis Dent, a pioneer settler who arrived in Missouri from Virginia in 1835.
Articles are appearing in media around the country, as Dent County becomes a poster boy for how not to conduct government business. These commissioners missed the whole “separation of church and state” memo, and would rather insult the LGBT members of their communities (up to 1,500 voters in a county of 15,600). I suspect they don’t care, and probably take some pleasure from the idea. Since they don’t seem to have a Confederate Battle Flag flying to advertise themselves with, they’ll simply ignore the Flag Code, and make a political statement with Old Glory.
I wonder if the County Attorney will step in and explain it to them? I suspect he (or she) already did, and, since the Code does not have the force of law, they just don’t care. After all, to “good” Christians like these, “God’s” law trumps the Constitutions they swore an oath to uphold. Pesky things like that can just be ignored, when you’re doing “God’s” work, right?
UPDATE: On Tuesday, Commissioners told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that they intend to rescind their vote out of “respect” for military personnel and veterans. (no respect was forthcoming towards the LGBT community.)
Also posted at Alternating Currents
Image: Dent County Courthouse by Bob Weston