Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce to Fly Rainbow Flag

Updated: Friday, September 5 2014, 09:27 AM EDT
Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce to Fly Rainbow Flag story image
The Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce will fly the rainbow flag during the Upstate Pride Festival.

The decision has angered some members of the community, while others support it.

Haute Mama in Spartanburg is a maternity clothing store, and owner Sara Riddle says she's open for business to anyone.

"I'm supportive of equality for everyone," Riddle said. "And everybody wants to be happy, and if this makes more people happy, it's definitely not hurting."

Beyond her personal views however, she says it's beneficial for the local economy to have a welcoming business community.

"I think it's unwise to exclude certain groups of people from a business perspective," Riddle said.

Haute Mama is a member business of the Spartanburg area Chamber of Commerce, which has planned to fly the rainbow flag during next weekend's Upstate Pride Festival.

This has angered some people, but no one we spoke to would go on camera.

Chamber president Allen Smith says it's a purely business decision.

"Chambers of commerce are in the business of growing business," Smith said. "We can't be in the business of condoning or condemning lifestyles; that's not who we are."

Smith just recently took over as head of the chamber in June, but he says Spartanburg and the chamber have a long tradition of supporting the LGBT community.

"For years, this chamber has been committed to diversity and inclusion," Smith said. "And if you're gonna be committed to the concept, be committed. It's not a lukewarm thing. You're either in or you're out."

The chamber's row of flags represent the international businesses that have a home in the Spartanburg area. For 48 hours next weekend, the rainbow flag will replace the chamber's flag and fly right next to the palmetto flag and the stars and stripes.Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce to Fly Rainbow Flag
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