The City of Miramichi has a new policy on flying flags from special interest groups.

Groups must submit an application and, if approved, the flag will fly for four days on a new flag pole to be erected in the park across from City Hall.

Yellowknife gay pride flag

The City of Miramichi expects to fly the gay pride flag during the Paralympics which begin in Sochi, Russia Mar. 7. (Mktp/Flickr)

"The policy now is quite clear. It's usually a yes or a no," said Mayor Gerry Cormier.

"But I think the only thing we'd say no is to anything related to hatred type of thing. Other than that, anything else will be flown."

The policy follows a motion that was made Feb. 17 to fly the gay pride flag outside City Hall during the Sochi Olympics in protest of the anti-gay laws in Russia.

That motion was immediately tabled by the mayor to allow time to develop a policy.

That decision, at a time when other municipalities in New Brunswick and across Canada were flying the rainbow flag without issue, sparked debate in Miramichi.

Miramichi now expects to fly the pride flag during the Paralympics in Sochi, which begin on Friday.

Cormier doesn't expect everyone will agree with the town's new flag policy.

"There's some for and some against, so that hasn't changed," he said. "It was an issue I don't think we could win on."

Coun. Shelly Williams was surprised by the reaction of many young people who came out in protest.

"I found it very unfortunate that we had a number of young people outside council Friday afternoon yelling `Gay is OK,'" said Williams.

"It's unfortunate that they felt they had defend that position. The last thing I am is a homophobe. As far as flying the Pride flag during the Paralympics I say let it fly."