UPDATED: Greenwich Elected Officials Speak Out Against Homophobic, Transphobic Signs at Town Hall

This article has been updated with multiple statements from elected officials, Greenwich Voices for Democracy and Greenwich Patriots.

Dozens of signs using hate speech to attack the LGBTQ+ community were placed all around the Pride flag at Greenwich Town Hall in the overnight hours after an afternoon celebration of Pride Month was held Sunday.

“We had such a wonderful time, celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, said State Representatives Rachel Khanna (D-149), Steve Meskers (D-150), Hector Arzeno (D-151) and State Senator Ryan Fazio (R-36) in a statement released Monday afternoon. “We’re shocked and saddened by this despicable act.”

Contributed photo 8am Monday, June 5

The Greenwich House Delegation said they hope perpetrator or perpetrators will be caught.

“We call on local leaders, the Greenwich DTC, the Greenwich RTC, the Greenwich Patriots, and Greenwich Voices for Democracy to condemn this act of hatred and to re-affirm their commitment to inclusivity in the town that we love and proudly represent in Hartford,” the legislators said.

“We will not tolerate these acts of bigotry and hate speech against any person or group of people. We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and will not allow the rights of members of this community to be compromised. Words matter; they make a difference and not always for the better,” the legislators added.

The Pride Month celebration included a proclamation from the first selectman and a flag-raising on Sunday afternoon at the town hall.

Monday afternoon Congressman Jim Himes representing Connecticut’s 4th District, shared a Tweet, saying “Protected by the 1st Amendment or not, this kind of hate speech and toxic attack is completely out of place in Greenwich, in Connecticut or anywhere. It’s also eroding our democracy. The anonymity demonstrates the pathetic cowardice of those behind this.”

Monday afternoon, State Rep Meskers sent additional comments, saying, “Bigotry and hate raise its ugly face in Greenwich this morning. I am sickened by the twisted individuals who brought shame and infamy to my town with this nasty and vile messaging.”

“Sadly the attribution is missing,” he said of the signage. “We are better in love than hate and with inclusion and not exclusion. I strongly condemn this pathetic and twisted messaging. Love is Love and we are all made in God’s image. I feel sorry for the author of this pathetic hate filled lawn sign.”

The Greenwich Board of Selectmen issued a statement Monday afternoon:

“The Board of Selectmen is appalled by the display of hate speech seen outside Town Hall Monday morning. The signs appeared as a reaction to Sunday’s Pride Day celebration and flag raising and were placed on Town property by people unwilling to identify themselves. The Pride event was organized by fellow Greenwich residents promoting an inclusive community, one that does not stand for hate and bigotry against anyone or any group. We stand together as a Town with our LGBTQ+ community and we condemn hate speech in all its forms. It has no place in Greenwich.

“The Board of Selectmen is calling upon all individuals and local political groups, including the Democratic Town Committee, the Republican Town Committee and independent groups such as the Greenwich Patriots and Greenwich Voices for Democracy, to condemn this hate speech as well. As was mentioned yesterday, it is a lot easier to love than hate, and to hug rather than attack. Tolerance, acceptance, and freedom is the Greenwich we all know and love, not the display we saw outside Town Hall today.”

Joe Angland, chair of the Democratic Town Committee shared a statement:

“The Greenwich Democrats were honored to join our state delegation, our Board of Selectmen, faith leaders and a large crowd of LGBTQ members and their allies to celebrate Pride month at Town Hall on Sunday. We were reminded that our LGBTQ friends and neighbors are woven deep into the fabric of our community – as taxpayers, business owners, parents – and that their fight for civil rights is everyone’s fight. 

How disappointing it was to discover dozens of hateful signs placed around the Pride flag on the Town Hall lawn and throughout Greenwich the next day. The nearly daily drumbeat of hatred against the LGBTQ community by radical local groups incites this kind of bigotry, which has no place in Greenwich. The Greenwich Democratic Town Committee condemns hate speech and bigotry of any kind, and stands with our LGBTQ family in celebration of Pride Month.”

Voices for Democracy shared a statement: “GVFD strongly condemns the cowardly behavior of whatever fringe group is behind this disgusting display of hate and ignorance. We know these signs do not represent our community which is dedicated to inclusion. We stand with our LGBTQ+ friends now and always!”

Update Tuesday, June 6: Greenwich Patriots said in an email, “We had nothing to do with this incident and do not support it in any way….Indeed, the Greenwich Patriots group hasn’t planted a sign since hundreds of our innocuous ‘Do Your Love Freedom’ signs were vandalized and/or stolen.”

Update Tuesday, June 6: Greenwich RTC chair Beth Macgillivray and vice chair Joe Montanaro sent the following statement Tuesday morning:

Greenwich Republicans were surprised to learn about the unexpected appearance of “groomer” signs at Town Hall. It is important to clarify that we have absolutely no connection or involvement with these signs. Perhaps those who are quick to point fingers are the actual culprits, as history has shown in similar instances. Re Twitter “We pay attention and give respect to ALL who make up our Greenwich community. Actual intolerance has no place in our group.”

This article has been updated to reflect that State Senator Republican Ryan Fazio (R-36) added his name to the statement from the Democratic House delegation.

This article has been updated to include a Tweet from US Congressman from Connecticut.

This article has been updated to include additional comments from State Rep Steve Meskers (D-150), Joe Angland for the DTC and Voices for Democracy.

See also:

Big Turnout at Greenwich Pride Event Marks Decades of Progress though “The arc does not always bend toward justice”