New Brunswick

Miramichi balks at raising gay pride flag

The City of Miramichi is hesitant to raise the gay pride flag during the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Motion to fly rainbow flag like other communities during Olympics tabled in order to draft policy

The City of Miramichi is hesitant to raise the gay pride flag during the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

While many municipalities across the country have been flying the rainbow flag to protest Russia's anti-gay laws, Miramichi council is waiting to come up with a policy on the issue.

The gay pride flag was raised at the New Brunswick legislature on Feb. 12, 2014. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)
At Monday's council meeting, Coun. Peggy McLean suggested raising the rainbow flag.

McLean said some local youth had been urging her to do so.

"It's a no-brainer to me and I really thought it was going to be a moot issue, that I would make the motion and we'd raise the flag. Silly I guess," said McLean.

Before any discussion could take place, Mayor Gerry Cormier put things on hold.

"What I wanted to do was table it until we get some very clear policy on what flags should and shouldn't be flown," said Cormier. "And that's all it is, about protocol, policy and flags, period. It's not about groups or anything else."

Cormier says the city currently raises flags for non-profits, veterans and the Rotary Club.

Resident Mike Connors offered up his own pride flag to the city. He believes tabling the motion is simply a way to avoid raising the flag.

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside raises the pride flag outside City Hall. ((CBC))
"It's a sad day for our city," he said. "I don't think this should be 'I need to think about it.' Human rights isn't something that anyone should have to think about."

The New Brunswick Legislature, and city halls in Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John have all been flying the rainbow flag during the Sochi Olympics.

McLean is now urging residents to contact the town office.

"Tell them that you want your voice heard, that you want council to know this is how we feel as Miramichiers, that we do want to stand in solidarity with the rest of the country and the rest of the world," she said.

"This is a human rights issue. This is a global issue. This isn't just Miramichi. This isn't New Brunswick," she said. "It's not just a Canadian issue. This is bigger than what we are."

Cormier doesn't think a new policy will be in place before the Winter Games wrap up on Sunday.


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