City of Nashua Admits They Were Wrong to Take Down My Save Women’s Sports Flag by Beth Scaer

My husband and I raised the Save Women’s Sports flag on the Citizen Flag Pole on Nashua City Hall Plaza on Saturday, October 10, 2020 with permission from the City of Nashua. It was supposed to stay up until Friday, October 16.

Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess had it removed in less than 24 hours claiming the message “Woman = Adult Human Female” on the flag is offensive and that it violates state law.

In Nashua City Attorney Steve Bolton’s response to my appeal to have my flag put back up, he cited the court case Shurtleff V Boston as justification for the City of Nashua to control which flags can be flown.

Earlier this year, I warned Mayor Donchess and Attorney Bolton, and the Nashua Board of Aldermen repeatedly that the Shurtleff case was being heard at the US Supreme Court and it was going very badly for Boston, which had denied Hal Shurtleff the right to fly a Christian flag on a community flagpole on Boston City Hall plaza. But they ignored me and continued to allow community groups to fly flags on the Citizen Flag Pole.

Last week, the Supreme Court justices voted 9-0 in favor of Shurtleff and said it was viewpoint discrimination to deny him the right to fly his flag when Boston had allowed all other flags requested by others to be flown.

Attorney Richard Lehmann sent a letter on my behalf to Nashua City Attorney Steve Bolton calling out the unconstitutionality of Mayor Jim Donchess having my Save Women’s Sports flag removed from the Citizen Flag Pole based on the outcome of this case and requesting that I be allowed to raise my flag again.

Related9-0 Supreme Court Decision Favors Free Speech, Hal Shurtleff, and Camp Constitution

The City of Nashua’s response was to remove the webpage for the Citizen Flag Pole program from the city website. This is an acknowledgment of wrongdoing by Mayor Donchess and the City of Nashua.

The City had a flag-raising scheduled for June 17 for the Pride flag which has gone up every year on the Citizen Flag Pole since the flag program was instituted in June 2017, but that event also seems to have disappeared. I am awaiting word from my alderman on what is going to happen with the flag program.

Thanks to the ACLU and the Biden administration for supporting Shurtleff’s and other citizens’ right to fly flags with other points of view on city flagpoles.

My favorite quote from the Supreme Court case is this from Shurtleff’s lawyer Matthew Staver:

If the city allows a Black Lives Matter flag, then it will probably have to allow a Proud Boys flag. That’s just what the First Amendment requires.

Today Robert Azzi, board member of ACLU-NH congratulated Shurtleff on winning his case in a Letter to the Editor to the Union Leader and applauded the ACLU-NH’s “unwavering support for the rights of all Americans”.

If Nashua continues the Citizen Flag Pole program and continues to deny me my first amendment right to fly my Save Women’s Sports flag on Nashua’s Citizen Flag Pole, I will be reaching out to the ACLU-NH for their help.