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Concern Over Social Media Associations May Down Proposed Utah Flag

Mar 03, 2021

Photo by: Courtesy of the Organization for a New Utah Flag

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposed new state flag for Utah that once looked promising may be ditched over its association with controversial social media posts.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports the flag design submitted by businessman Richard Martin was close to being designated as a commemorative flag for Utah's 125th anniversary of statehood.

However, Democratic state lawmakers are concerned after they learned a hashtag used by groups known to use "harsh rhetoric" to defend the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has adopted the flag on social media posts.

Accounts affiliated with DezNat have been known to use the flag that features a golden beehive, mountains and the state's colors.

Martin, a former GOP candidate for governor, said he had no idea that the flag appeared on sites connected to DezNet accounts. He also argued that he can't control what others do with his flag design.

“They’ve grabbed an image and used it, and I don’t know how much we can say, ‘Hey guys, don’t use that,’” Martin said. “You don’t really want to be associated with that. ... There’s always people that take things to extremes, and what can you do about it? You just don’t want them to use your symbols.”

Rep. Stephen Handy, the House sponsor of the bill that would create a commemorative flag, is considering removing Martin's design so it does not become a political landmine and ruin the chances of its passage.

After passing in the Senate and a House committee, Handy's bill is up for vote by the full House before the current legislative session ends.

Utah flag

Utah flag made by Johnin