McHenry County Board members override chairman to hold vote on Pride Month proclamation

The vote will follow a meeting in May where proclamation was not included in agenda

McHenry County raised the gay pride flag June 16 at its administrative building in Woodstock after the McHenry County Board proclaimed June as LGBTQIA Pride Month, it announced on Facebook that day.

After opting to not hold a vote on a proclamation to recognize June as Pride Month at its last meeting, the McHenry County Board will have a special meeting on Monday to do that very thing.

All eight of the board’s Democrats and five of its 16 Republican members requested the special meeting after Chairman Mike Buehler, R-Crystal Lake, decided not to include the proclamation on the agenda last month, said County Board member John Collins, D-Crystal Lake, who had made the initial request for proclamation.

Both during and ahead of the May meeting, Buehler cited a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, Shurtleff v. Boston, that he said could affect the county’s flag policy. He raised concerns that if the proclamation was included, the county’s Democrats would push for the Pride flag to flown over county buildings and potentially put the county at risk legally.

Buehler said Wednesday he doesn’t view the meeting as overriding him, saying it’s well within the board’s right to call a special meeting.

“I think this is part of the process,” Buehler said. “I always support the process.”

To call a special meeting, one-third of the board, or eight members, are required to request it, according to McHenry County Board rules. Buehler will not cast a vote Monday unless it’s to break a tie.

The question of whether the flag will also be on Monday’s agenda is still up in the air while the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office considers the legal implications of the Shurtleff decision, Collins said.

“I’m not sure what’s taking so long quite honestly,” Collins said. “The Boston case doesn’t apply to our situation.”

Collins expects the agenda to be posted publicly by the end of week, he said. Buehler said he has not seen the resolution but expects it to be posted in a similar timeline.

One of the Republicans who signed on to Monday’s special meeting, County Board member Joe Gottemoller, R-Crystal Lake, said he was “absolutely” in favor of the proclamation and isn’t sure why it’s a big deal since it has been approved in recent years with no controversy.

“If [the proclamation] had been before the board at the last meeting, I would have voted in favor,” Gottemoller said. “I’m not turning my back on many, many people that I know.”

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