Gay activists target small PEI town after mayor refused to fly rainbow flag
MONTAGUE, Prince Edward Island, July 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The mayor of Montague is being deluged with “hateful” emails because of a year-old policy that will not permit the display of the LGBT rainbow flag — or any other private emblem — from municipal flag poles.
The PEI’s gay pride organization has questioned the town’s actions because, according to Tyler Murhaghan, the provincial pride chairman, many other cities in Canada’s smallest province, including the capital of Charlottetown, have flown the flag.
"We're obviously pretty disappointed in the whole situation,” Murnaghan told the Canadian Press. “The excuses they've been giving haven't been that great. I know in a lot of other municipalities it's not an issue. They say, ‘Tell us when you want it (the flag) raised,’ and it is raised.”
The municipal council of Montague, a town of 2,000 perched astride the Montague River, decided to adopt its policy after tiring of having to discuss and approve a seemingly interminable stream of requests to fly flags for various organizations, Mayor Richard Collins told LifeSiteNews. “There was the MS society, the Cancer Society. We had to discuss each case and decided last year to cease the practice. There was no discussion at the time, it seems to me.”
Collins made it clear the town was not singling out or rejecting any specific groups. “There is only one human race. We love everyone in Montague,” he said. “Everyone is welcome to come to live here at any time of the day or night, to work here, to play here, to set up businesses here.”
Nor is Collins opposed to local businesses or individuals flying the rainbow colors of the LGBT movement. “That’s wonderful if they want to do that,” he said.
Murnaghan said the provincial pride group plans a day trip to Montague to bring carloads of flags to give local businesses to fly. Plans are also in the works to make lawn signs for private citizens to announce their support.
Despite Collins’ call for goodwill for all, he said there has been a nasty backlash from supporters of the LGBT movement. “I got some hateful emails and so did my secretary and my CAO [chief administrative officer].”
The topic will come up at the next town council next week. If there is consensus, the issue would be tabled until the second Monday of August for debate and a possible motion to change the policy.
Collins would not disclose how he would vote.
Municipalities across Canada fly the LGBT flag to mark Gay Pride Week, and some even paint the LGBT colors over existing downtown crosswalks, which is a breach of established conventions for safe traffic signage. The British Columbia government’s Manual of Standard Traffic Signs and Pavement Markings states: “Similar situations must always be signed in the same manner in order to ensure correct driver response. Therefore, to maintain signing integrity, standards for the application of traffic signs must be upheld.” But the white crosswalk markings easily recognizable by drivers are often changed during Gay Pride Weeks in Canadian and U.S. cities.