The rainbow pride flag will fly at city hall in July, despite a request from a community member to reverse council’s previous decision to raise the flag from July 13 to 20.
Organizers of the Fraser Valley Pride celebration, which will run July 17 to 19 at Trethewey House, requested the flag be raised to coincide with the events, which council approved.
Richard Peachey asked council on Monday to revisit their decision, made two weeks ago, saying there is no dispute that the practices of pride members are fully legal, but said that doesn’t mean they deserve to be celebrated.
“Our city council should not be giving official support, honour and celebration of views and practices many of us regard as immoral.”
He said the pride members are entitled to their views, to promote their ideology and to make a request to fly the flag, but his issue was with council’s decision to allow it.
He said the city needed courage to revisit the decision, despite negative attention it would draw.
Mayor Henry Braun said they listened to concerns of citizens, but as elected representatives they have the responsibility to make decisions for the whole of the community.
The city currently doesn’t have a policy on what flags can fly, though staff is developing one, he said. Another flag, for Canuck Place, has flown in the past.
“As a matter of principle, I could not see how we could say yes to the previous flag flying and no to this one.”
He said council has the responsibility to follow the law and make decisions in harmony with its own bylaws, as well as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Raising the rainbow flag is a means by which the city can “engage, and welcome, and yes, love a part of our community that has suffered, in my view, abuse, ridicule and in some cases, hate,” he said.
Coun. Dave Loewen said that over the years, council has been taken to task over a number of moral issues, such as lingerie football, and said he believes that “it’s not government’s function to legislate morality.”
Coun. Sandy Blue said she read all of the submissions from the public, and while the decision is not popular with some, there is support from many people from a range of religious beliefs, cultural backgrounds and points of view.