June 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Ebbin defends Pride flag over Richmond Federal Reserve
Adam Ebbin

Virginia Del. Adam Ebbin praised the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond for flying a rainbow flag. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Gay Virginia Del. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) praised a decision by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond to fly a rainbow LGBT Pride flag in front of its headquarters building and criticized a GOP colleague who denounced the bank for displaying the flag.

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), who serves with Ebbin in the Virginia House of Delegates, demanded in a letter to the bank’s president, “Take down that flag.”

Marshall added in his letter to bank President Jeffrey M. Lacker that the behavior that the flag celebrates “shortens lives, adds significantly to illness, increases health costs, promotes venereal diseases, and worsens the population imbalance related to the number of workers supporting the beneficiaries of America’s Social Security and Medicare programs.”

“Sadly, it’s no shock to learn that Bob Marshall has once again attacked the dignity of Virginia’s LGBT population,” Ebbin said in a June 3 statement. “That he would attack the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond for flying a flag that promotes equality, tolerance and acceptance tells us all we need to know about Delegate Marshall’s priorities.”

A spokesperson for bank, which operates independently from the government, said the bank began displaying the flag on June 1 at the request of its LGBT employees group, Prism, in observance of national LGBT Pride Month in June.

“It represents the bank’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, which are values we support,” spokesperson Jim Strader told the Associated Press.

The Family Foundation of Virginia, which opposes LGBT rights legislation, and a pastor in Chesterfield County, Bishop Gerald Glenn, told the AP they, too, believe the flag should be taken down because it promotes the “homosexual agenda.”

Virginia State Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico County) joined Ebbin in supporting the bank’s decision to fly the gay flag, according to AP.

“Across the Commonwealth, LGBT Virginians, their friends and their families are celebrating this week as the start of a month where we express pride in who we are and what we have accomplished as a community,” Ebbin said in his statement.

“Despite the best efforts of those like Bob Marshall, it has gotten better for LGBT Virginians, and so long as I am in the General Assembly I will fight every day to ensure it continues to do so,” he said.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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