Pride flag should fly at Surrey City Hall, says festival organizer
Martin Rooney says the city needs to show it is more inclusive during Surrey Pride Week
One of the founders of the Surrey Pride Festival says it’s time the city raised the rainbow flag at city hall to show support for its LGBTQ community.
Currently Surrey only displays three flags at city hall: the Canadian, B.C. and Surrey flags, which officials say embrace diversity and inclusiveness.
But Martin Rooney who co-founded the first Surrey Pride Festival in 1999, wants the city to fly the pride flag during Surrey Pride Week, which starts on June 28.
Rooney says he asked Surrey to raise the multicoloured flag at city hall first in 1999 without success, then again during the Sochi Winter Olympics, and again for this years' Pride Festival, but he's not feeling optimistic.
“I don't believe there is the overall will to do it,” says Rooney. “If certain people wanted the pride flag flown, it would be flown.”
"To me, if the flying of the flag can tell one LBGT person in the Surrey area that they are welcome, that they are equal, that they are a recognized part of the community and it would offer to prevent one potential suicide from occurring, then to me it makes total sense to fly the flag," says Rooney.
City officials say Surrey's current flag policy doesn't allow for that, but council will review its rules around which flags fly at city hall at a public hearing tonight.
The Surrey Pride Week starts June 28, wrapping up with a festival on July 6 at Holland Park.