‘I did not understand the offensiveness’: Mayor speaks after Fitchburg flies ‘nuclear family’ flag

FITCHBURG, Ma — The mayor of Fitchburg shared some regrets Friday, less than 48 hours after he agreed to fly a “nuclear family” flag on public property.

Stephen DiNatale first agreed to fly the flag on Wednesday, according to a post on his Facebook page. The mayor stated that the flag would fly for one week at Riverfront Park in the name of equality.

On Wednesday I joined Jessica Jacobson for the raising of the Nuclear family flag at Riverfront Park. It will fly for one week in the name of equality.

Posted by Stephen DiNatale - Mayor of Fitchburg on Thursday, December 22, 2022

Many commenters on the Mayor’s post shared their disappointment in the decision, citing it as alienating act against members of the LGBTQ community.

“This post is in very poor taste Mayor DiNatale. We’re supposed to be building Fitchburg up to be a tolerant place that welcomes love and people of all kinds. This does the opposite and is tone-deaf at best and homophobic/transphobic at worst,” said one comment from Kim Pheymannicie. “Please reconsider your words and decision for a photo-op here and re-evaluate the motives behind the choice to be on the wrong side of this issue.”

On Friday, the mayor again took to Facebook; stating that he has been informed of the public’s concern.

“I regret that some of the members of the community felt that this event was unacceptable,” stated DiNatale. “At that time of my decision I did not understand the offensiveness of flying this flag to some members of our community.”

Neither the City nor I condone any group that would marginalize others. The City of Fitchburg has employed and continues to employ a diverse workforce, something to which I am very proud.”

To the people of the City of Fitchburg, I am writing this message regarding my decision to have the Nuclear Family flag...

Posted by Stephen DiNatale - Mayor of Fitchburg on Friday, December 23, 2022

Boston 25 News has confirmed the flag is still flying and has reached out to Mass Equality for comment.

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