While American flags around the world flew at half-staff this week in honor of the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, a county in southern Alabama refused to obey President Barack Obama's order to lower the flag.
In a post to Facebook on Monday, Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey wrote his "soul aches for the families" of those killed in the Orlando, Florida, massacre at a gay nightclub, but that lowering the flag in the wake of mass shootings or terrorist attacks "is not a valid circumstance or memorial as specified in the U.S. Flag Code."
That code requires the American flag be lowered on Memorial Day and upon the death of government officials. It also empowers the president to alter, modify, repeal or prescribe additional rules "whenever he deems it to be appropriate or desirable."
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley joined Obama in ordering that flags remain lowered until sunset June 16 as a "mark of respect for the victims of the act of hatred and terror" in Orlando.
In his Facebook post, Dorsey said he similarly ignored Obama's orders to lower the flag in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris last November and the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, in December.
Dorsey said the flag flying at full-staff represents American citizens "holding our head up with courage above all others."
"When the flag is at half-staff, our country's head is figuratively held low, and quite frankly, I am not willing to hang my head down because of a terrorist attack against our people and our allies," Dorsey wrote. "I am not willing to hang my head down because evil shoots up a church, school, or movie theater. We need more than a gesture as a response. I want us, as Americans, to stand tall, courageously, and fight back against the forces of evil, and let’s fight like we intend to win."
Dorsey's post makes no mention of the LGBT community. It does, however, describe the shooter as "another follower of Islam" who decided to "shoot up a bunch of innocents."
Read the full post below:
"Evil exists in the world, and it seems to be expanding at a rapid rate," Dorsey wrote. "It is evil, not guns, killing innocents, but that is a different essay." He ended the post by asking others to join him in "regular prayer for peace, for our military, law enforcement, and first responders along with their families."
While some sided with Dorsey, many blasted him on social media and some even called for his resignation.
However, Dorsey wasn't alone in his position.
Commissioners in Cole County, Missouri, which is home to the state capital of Jefferson City, initially took a similar stance, voting 2-1 on Monday against lowering flags there, the News Tribune reported. "I want to honor those who have served our country, but we can't lower it for every event like this that occurs," Commissioner Kris Scheperle said. "I do feel for those who were gunned down, but I don't think it warrants lowering the flag."
Scheperle later changed his vote "due to the negative attention" the issue brought to the county, he told the News Tribune in a statement. "The bottom line is my concerns for Cole County citizens."