The Christian flag can now fly freely outside the Boston City Hall after a five-year legal battle, thanks to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Flying At Last, After 5 Years
A CBS News report revealed that the Camp Constitution (also called Christian) flag was raised on Monday, 11 a.m., outside the city hall of Boston, Massachusetts.
The event capped off a protracted legal battle that started in 2017 when a conservative activist unsuccessfully applied to have the Christian flag raised outside Boston City Hall.
A Christian flag is a "white banner with a red cross on a blue background in the upper left corner," the CBS News article said.
According to the same report, the city hall typically flies the American, state, and city flags at any time.
On certain occasions, city officials lower one flag and temporarily raise another banner. The article revealed that the third flag must be approved for display by the city.
Harold Shurtleff, who represents Camp Constitution, said that he applied to have the Christian flag raised outside the city hall.
Despite approving 284 similar applications, Shurtleff claimed a city official turned down his request.
He said the city official cited the separation of church and state as the reason for the disapproval. Shurtleff, however, believed otherwise.
What followed was a five-year battle that reached the highest court of the land.
Shurtleff and Camp Constitution sued the city for violating its freedom of speech when it thumbed down the request.
In May this year, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and ordered the city to finally fly the Christian flag after half a decade.
What the U.S. Supreme Court Said About the Issue
Stephen Beyer, a U.S. Supreme Court judge, argued that the city 'effectively violated the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause' when it denied the petitioner's request to fly the Christian flag.
The court unanimously voted against Boston and gave Boston the green light to change its policy regarding flag applications.
In response, city officials led by Mayor Michelle Wu have pushed for an ordinance that would revamp its flag applications policy.
Moving forward, groups who wish to raise their flags outside the city hall must have a council resolution or mayor's proclamation allowing them to fly their flags.
Shurtleff told reporters on Wednesday that he's happy about the ruling. He also underscored the importance of what they have accomplished in their lawsuit.
"We're very excited about it. I think what's more important is the precedent we set," he explained.
Shurtleff added that they did not want the matter to reach the court but felt they had to seek legal remedy.
He said their group only wished to fly the Christian flag to celebrate the city's Christian history and remember Constitution Day.
"I think the city officials...had a misunderstanding of what the First Amendment meant and it's just too bad that it had to go this far," Shurtleff lamented.