An Amesbury councilman protests the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade by not participating in the oath of allegiance at meetings.
Steve Stanganelli remained seated at the start of Tuesday’s meeting as everyone rose to recite the pledge. He also asked to be removed from the rotation of members to lead the recitation of the pledge on behalf of the children and women of Amesbury.
“I cannot in good conscience stand to recite a pledge to a flag that purportedly represents freedom and justice for all after recent events,” the council member wrote on his Facebook page in a post titled “Stand Up sitting down.”
Stanganelli said the issue of gun violence became a priority for him after the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and two teachers dead. The passage of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act by the Senate on June 23 gave Stanganelli some hope. But that fell apart when the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade was announced the next day.
“Bodily autonomy is or should be a universal right that is not left to elected or unelected representatives of the state. Those same voters are now in danger here at home as efforts to impose a national ban begin to even if it doesn’t happen, they are at risk if they choose to go to school or college or work elsewhere,” Stanganelli wrote.
He is also concerned that other civil rights are at risk, namely privacy and consensual relationships, including marriage between people of the same sex or different races.
“It pains me to say this. As a former Scout and a Scout parent, I want to instill the principles of Scouting Law in my children. But those same Scouting principles impose a duty to others. So, I cannot shut up. So, unfortunately, I cannot accept this commitment,” Stanganelli wrote.