By Chad Ingram
Published June 30 2016
The rainbow flag – international symbol ofthe lesbian gay bisexual and transgender community – will fly outside theMinden Hills township office for the week beginning July 4.
Township councillors received a requestfrom resident and business owner Sinclair Russell during their June 20 meeting.
“In view of recent hateful incidents bothat home at a business in our own county and more seriously at a nightclub in the U.S. we would liketo suggest that Minden Hills show positive solidarity against discriminationand violence toward LGBT people” Russell wrote in a letter to council. “As atownship we must show support of and celebrate the diversity of every residentand visitor. This year more than ever this statement is necessary around theworld including our own county. Minden and Haliburton County is home to strong LGBT community thatincludes hundreds of tax-paying citizens business owners public figures andseniors.
“Members of town council are also invitedto make a declaration of a Pride Day (weekend) in Minden."
On June 21 the Pretty Paws Pet Boutiqueand Spa in Haliburton was vandalized with a homophobic slur written on thebuilding in spraypaint.
On June 12 50 people were massacred by agunman at a gay club in Orlando Fla.
On July 3 the Prime Minister and Premierwill march in the Toronto Pride parade and Russell's request was that therainbow flag be raised at the township office July 2. A Pride picnic isscheduled to take place in Minden that day.
Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin supportedflying the flag.
“This hits near and dear to what we thinkand how we view the world” said Reeve Brent Devolin adding he doesn't condonediscrimination prejudice or the violent acts that have been taking placeagainst the LGBT community throughout the world. “I think from time to time weneed to make a statement. I would be prepared to endorse such a move.”
On the request for the township to declarea Pride day or Pride week “proclamations are in violation of our proceduralbylaw” the reeve said noting the township's rules forbade council from makingsuch proclamations.
“That's something that we need toreconsider” said Councillor Pam Sayne. “What is here before us is really a politicalrequest. This is a matter of inclusion. The most important thing about this ispeace.”
Councillor Jeanne Anthon said flying theflag spoke to the inclusiveness of community.
“I expect all of us here would use theflag-flying to represent inclusiveness” Anthon said. “It would be a very broadunderstanding of what it represent.”
The township does have a protocol governingflag-flying requests and council decided that the tight timeline consideredthe flag would be raised outside the township office for the week beginningJuly 4.
Sayne noted that June is Pride month andthat in the future if the request is received earlier the flag could be flownearlier in the season.