(NECN: Brian Burnell, Hartford, Conn.) - It's the flag that won't fly. Tea Party Patriots in Connecticut are fuming over their on again/off again plans to fly their flag over the state capitol. They say state lawmakers' objections are treading on their rights.
This is the Gadsden flag and it has a rich history. It was among the first symbols adopted by the US Marine Corps in 1775. It has also been taken up by Tea Party Patriots across the country as their symbol. Tea Party Patriots in Connecticut got permission to fly the flag over the state capital on April 9. That permission has now been rescinded because of the political nature of the Tea Party Patriots.
Tanya Bachand, CT Tea Party Patriots: "It's not a political statement. It's a statement of honoring the military. Honoring the scrappy American spirit that... Don't Tread on Me... its more than a motto. It's a way of life for the American people. In fairness, though, it did become coupled with candidates announcing their candidacy. It did."
The patriots planned to introduce some 30 candidates for office after the flag raising. Since permission was pulled they offered to drop that portion of the program but the Capital Police still say 'no'.
Bill Shields, CT Tea Party Patriots: "I just can't come up with any other explanation other than Mickey Lawlor not liking the Tea Party flag."
That would be state representative Mike Lawlor who says he is not saying the flag should not be flown. After all... the Te Party Patriots did do their homework on flying flags at the capital.
Rep. Mike Lawlor, D-East Haven, CT: "I think its a little bit inappropriate given the significance of that particular spot but, I mean, it apparently fit within the rules. Its fine with me. I mean, they played by the rules. Going forward we may have to rethink the rule because I think the whole point it do avoid controversial, partisan statements being run up the flag pole at the state capital."
The Tea Party Patriots are a persistent bunch. Permission or not a Gadsden Flag will be flying on the capital grounds on Friday.
Tanya Banchand, CT Tea Party Patriots: "We're going to go anyway. We have another flag that's a sister flag of the one that the Capital Police have that we supplied to them and we're going to go up anyway. We're going to raise the flag ourselves on our own flag pole and we're not going to let this one go."
For now, this tempest in a Tea Party is confined to Connecticut, but that could change. Bachand told NECN she is going to contact Fox News conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly and he has a history of getting involved in issues just like this.