Confederate Flag Banned From Being Sold Or Displayed On State Property In New York
New York has passed a law that prohibits the Confederate flag from being sold or displayed on state property.
The bill was proposed earlier this year before being signed in by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, December 15, with immediate effect.
As a result, selling or displaying ‘symbols of hate or any similar image, or tangible personal property, inscribed with such an image’ on public property is now illegal in the state.
The bill states:
The term ‘symbols of hate’ shall include, but not be limited to, symbols of White supremacy, neo-Nazi ideology or the battle flag of the Confederacy.
The Confederate flag has long been a controversial symbol, with some Americans saying it represents heritage and pride while others argue it is reflective of racism.
The Anti-Defamation League recognises it as a hate symbol, describing the flag as a ‘potent symbol of slavery and white supremacy’.
A number of organisations and institutions have taken action against the flag in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement this year. It has been banned from NASCAR racetracks and US army bases, while voters in Mississippi approved the decision to change their state flag from one which included the Confederate battle emblem.
Cuomo explained the move to ban the sale and display of the flag in New York in his approval memorandum, describing growing attitudes of intolerance and hate as ‘an American cancer’.
The horrific rash of anti-Semitic, anti-African American, anti-Hispanic and anti-LGBTQ behavior spreading across the United States is repugnant to our values as New Yorkers and Americans, and a new generation now bears witness to a rising tide of discrimination, hatred and violence that threatens generations of progress.
By limiting the display and sale of the confederate flag, Nazi swastika and other symbols of hatred from being displayed or sold on state property, including the state fairgrounds, this bill will help safeguard New Yorkers from the fear-instilling effects of these abhorrent symbols.
There are some exemptions to the ban, including images used in books, museum services or materials used for educational or historical purposes.
When signing the bill into law, Cuomo acknowledged that certain ‘technical changes’ will be needed to make sure it does not violate free speech protections.
According to NBC News, attorney Floyd Abrams, who has argued frequently before the Supreme Court in First Amendment cases, pointed out that the First Amendment ‘generally protects the expression of even hateful speech, and a statute banning the sale of materials expressing those views on state-owned land is highly likely to be held unconstitutional’.
Cuomo has agreed with the Legislature to address the concerns.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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