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Pictou queers vow to fight flag policy

Another NS municipality refuses to fly pride flag

LEGAL FIGHT? Members of Pictou's queer community are hoping to launch a human rights complaint against the county after council adopted a policy of refusing to fly non-government flags.

Another Nova Scotian municipality has refused to fly the gay pride flag, and one member of the local queer community is considering a human rights complaint against the county.

On Feb 4, Pictou County Council voted 7-6 in favour of a new flag policy that would allow only the municipal, provincial, federal or First Nations flag to fly on the county building’s flagpole.

“I’m ashamed that we’ve blatantly discriminated,” said Coun David Parker, according to the Chronicle Herald. Parker told the Herald last week that the council’s decision was motivated by homophobia.

Although the county was never asked to fly the pride flag, the county warden raised the idea for a flag policy after the town of Truro, Nova Scotia faced criticism for refusing to fly the gay pride flag last year.

The refusal to fly pride flags seems to be a trend among rural communities in Nova Scotia, says Ramona Westgate, a member of the Pride of Pictou County.

She is researching the possibility of launching a human rights complaint against the county. A similar complaint was launched against Truro last year following the town’s refusal to fly the pride flag.

“There’s no question that Pictou council’s decision was rooted in homophobia,” says Westgate. “What happened in Truro was based in homophobia. The mayor never denied his comments. He never denied his rationale for denying the flag to be flown.”

Last year, Truro mayor Bill Mills told the CBC that as a Christian, he could not support flying the pride flag.

“God says I’m not in favour of that and I have to look at it and say, I guess I’m not either,” he said.