The Courier: News

No flutter over rainbow flag

The rainbow flag will fly across the Hills in November as part of the annual Feast Festival to celebrate gay and lesbian culture.
Both the Mt Barker and Adelaide Hills councils have confirmed they will support the event and raise the rainbow colors.
That follows debate across SA councils about flying the gay pride flag, with the Marion Council voting to fly it year-round, while the chief executive of the Copper Coast Council resigned in protest after councillors voted to fly the flag during the festival.
Mt Barker Council’s general manager of council services Greg Parker said it had backed the event “for a number of years” and would do so again this year, despite some criticism from residents.
“The council has received a couple of complaints and equally has received compliments for its participation, awareness and support of this festival,” he said.
About $4000 was spent by the council on the festival last year and Mr Parker said the council planned to spend a similar amount this year. It will also fly the rainbow flag at its council office during the Feast Festival.
Both the festival and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia are examples of “days, weeks or events of significance” listed in a flag policy approved by the Adelaide Hills Council last week.
That means the council will fly the rainbow flag during key events on the gay community’s calendar.
But the policy wasn’t passed without debate among elected members, with Councillor Malcolm Herrmann failing in his bid to have the policy released for public consultation first.
Cr Val Hall was the first councillor to directly mention the gay community during the debate.
“Everyone is skirting around saying which flag they don’t want flown,” she said.
“Everything else is fine, I would presume – International Day, NAIDOC Week, Reconciliation Week – yes everyone is going to put their hands up for those, but no-one has actually mentioned International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and this is only going to be flown for one day of the year.
“I cannot see there is a huge problem and I think it is something where we are actually accepting people in our community that are born with these genes and we’re saying ‘OK, you know, join us’.
“I think this what we should be doing, gathering them into the community and not isolating them from the community and that’s what we’re doing.”
Mayor Bill Spragg said taking the policy to the community would “open a can of worms” with those in favor less inclined to speak up than those vehemently opposed.
“They may not accept it when we do it immediately but society is changing and we want to be at the forefront of that not in the boon docks because we’re not prepared to make a decision,” he said.
But Cr Andrew Stratford said it was “disappointing” that the council hadn’t approached the policy in an “inclusive” manner.

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