“We must always remember our past, but that does not mean we must let it define us,” Gunn, a Clinton Republican, said in a statement. “As a Christian, I believe our state’s flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed. We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi’s flag.”
It’s the first time a Mississippi Republican elected official has publicly called for the removal of the emblem that served as the battle flag flown by the Confederate army during the Civil War. Later, it was adopted by anti-Civil Rights groups.
Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday morning that he didn’t expect the Legislature to “supersede the will of the people on this issue.”
He was referring to the 2001 ballot measure in which 64 percent of those who voted made the flag with the Confederate emblem the state’s official banner. Bryant spokeswoman Nicole Webb said the governor voted with the majority.
A spokeswoman for Bryant said Monday night he was traveling and unavailable for comment on Gunn’s position. A spokesperson for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves had not responded to questions sent Monday morning, and again Monday night.
The debate whether to remove the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina’s state capitol, touched off by last week’s Charleston church shooting, arrived in Mississippi over the weekend.