An Amesbury City Councilor is protesting the Supreme Court's overturn of Roe v. Wade by not participating in the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings.

Steve Stanganelli stayed seated at the start of Tuesday's meeting when everyone else stood to recite the pledge. He also asked to be taken out of the rotation of members to lead the reciting of the pledge all 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 liberty and justice for all after recent events," the at-large member of the council wrote on his Facebook page in a post titled "Standing Up By Sitting Down."

Stanganelli said the issue of gun violence became top of mind for him after the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead. The passing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act by the Senate on June 23 gave Stanganelli some hope.

But that hope came crashing down when the Supreme Court's decision on Roe v. Wade was announced the next day.

"Bodily autonomy is or should be a universal right not left to elected or unelected state officials.These same constituents are now at risk here at home as efforts to impose a national ban begin to play out. Even if that doesn't happen, they are at risk if they choose to go to school or college or work elsewhere," Stanganelli wrote.

It was more than the Roe sections but other SCOTUS decisions in the last days of the current session Stanganelli sees as threats to civil rights: requiring public funding of religious schools (Carson v Makin, 2022) and allowing religious activities on public property (Kennedy v Bremberton School District).

"I see risks to other civil rights that were based on similar reasoning as Roe v Wade, namely privacy (Griswold v Connecticut, 1965), and consensual relationships including marriage between those of the same sex (Obergefell v Hodges, 2015) or different races (Loving v Virginia, 1967).

Stanganelli said in his statement that Constitution is his "north star" and will continue to support both the United States as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Constitution and the city charter. But it will not be easy.

"It pains me to say this. As a former Boy Scout and a Scout parent I want to instill the principles of the Scout Law to my kids. But those same Scout principles mandate a duty to others. So, I cannot be silent. So, regretfully, I cannot stand for this pledge," Stanganelli wrote.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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