READING, Pa. (CBS/AP) — The mayor of the eastern Pennsylvania city of Reading has reversed course and says he will allow the LGBTQ rainbow flag to fly over City Hall for the first time. Mayor Wally Scott last week called off a scheduled ceremony to raise the “pride flag,” calling it a political symbol, but posted a video Saturday on his Facebook page saying he had changed his mind.
“I told them they can put the flag up,” he said. “I just asked them to keep the politics out of it.”
Scott said his change of heart came after a “very prominent woman” he would not name told him of her experience of realizing she was gay and telling her mother.
“What I am interested in is that the people that the flag represents have suffered,” Scott said. “Wow, to remember the very day you broke the news to your mother. You knew as a child that you were a boy in a girl’s body. I still choke up.
“Your flag is something we should support,” Scott said. “This one here, you hit home. Please put your flag up.”
The LGBT Center of Greater Reading welcomed the mayor’s decision, saying his change of heart “is exactly in alignment with our mission, our hopes for the community, and what we will continue to work toward in the future,” executive director Michelle Dech said.
“Education is our primary purpose and today’s events highlight the importance and value of interpersonal relationships in changing attitudes and policies at the local level,” she said.
The organization had blasted his earlier decision, saying “what was supposed to be a proud and historical moment” became “blatant, unacceptable discrimination.”
(©Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)