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Hamilton flies Pride flag despite opposition

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Hamilton officials raised the rainbow-hued Pride flag at city hall at 9 a.m. Feb. 10, and soon after the complaints came in.

“We’ve had a few people call and emails against the flag,” said Mayor Bob Bratina. “I will review with security (and) what sort of level of anger it may be.”

But Bratina said he never hesitated to join with a number of other Canadian municipalities to fly the flag at city hall in support of gay athletes and the LGBTQ community inRussiafor the duration of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Hamilton joins other Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, St. John’s and Montreal that are displaying the flag in a rebuke to Russia over its anti-gay laws for the duration of the games. Hamilton had to delay hoisting the flag until this week on the external area in front of city hall because of the treacherous winter weather conditions.

The Quebec government is planning to fly the flag at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, the site of the 1976 summer games.

“It’s a good opportunity, with the world-wide Olympics and world-wide issue to bring the matter forward in the broader context,” said Bratina. “It’s a university issue. It’s a good opportunity for the city of Hamilton to present ourselves where we stand as a city in terms of equality for everyone.”

Bratina said Hamilton may want to change its motto ‘The Best Place to Raise a Child’, to ‘The Best Place to Raise Every Child’ in recognition of the city’s commitment to equality and diversity.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford created a controversy in Toronto by arguing he is against the city displaying the flag. But the majority of councillors and the LGBTQ community are applauding the city’s decision.

 

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