Council refuses to fly rainbow flag for a day
THE rainbow flag is likely to make an appearance at the Sunshine Coast Council chambers on Tuesday, just not on its flagpoles.
Members of the Sunshine Coast Rainbow Network will stage a protest outside the chambers against the council's refusal to fly the rainbow flag on the International Day Against Homphobia and Transphobia.
Although Noosa and Brisbane councils have agreed to fly the flag, the Sunshine Coast Council has declined to do the same, saying to do so would open it up to similar requests from many organisations.
Network director Fiona Anderson said the council's response was disappointing.
She said Noosa had agreed to fly the rainbow flag within three days of receiving a submission, whereas she had to send the submission to the Sunshine Coast Council three times before she received a response.
"We got told it was against the flag policy, good luck and have a great day," she said.
Should councils fly the rainbow flag to discourage homophobia?
This poll ended on 20 May 2016.
Yes. It's a good cause
No. It will open the door for too many requests
No. It's not the role of the council
Yes. It's only one day
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
The council's flag policy states the Australian flag should be raised on all council-owned flag poles also outlines when the Queensland, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Sunshine Coast Regional Council and Sunshine Coast Airport flags should be flown.
The policy leaves room for the chief executive officer to direct the flying of flags for "significant regional events as determined by council".
Ms Anderson said she would have preferred the decision on whether to fly the rainbow flag to have been made by the council but it had instead been made by the chief executive officer, Michael Whittaker.
Although the council is not flying the flag, a spokesman said it had used its website and media channels to promote IDAHOT Day and would encourage staff to wear purple or rainbow designs on their clothes on Tuesday to raise awareness.
Should your council be flying the rainbow flag? Join our daily watercooler by having your say below.
But Ms Anderson said raising the rainbow flag was "a symbolic gesture, which costs nothing but it's a powerful symbol of acceptance and inclusivity."
She said the Sunshine Coast Council was also yet to include a definition of LGBTI in its social inclusion policy, which was supposed to be inclusive.
"The solution is simple. If your policy prevents you from fully supporting a marginalised group in the community, it's time to change the policy."
What you're saying on Facebook:
Spence Chalifour: "They only flag that should ever be flown at a government building is the ANF and the flag of whatever state the location is situated in."
Pete Boyd: "No goverment building should fly any flags other than the Australian flag, State Flag and the Aboriginal flag. All these other groups and bleeding hearts that want a different flag flown for all these different groups of people should pay to have a flag pole installed on their property and fly whatever flag they want. Leave everyone else out of it, keep your bleating to facebook."
Trevor Targett: "Good. Governments of any level should only fly the national flag - and at a pinch the indigenous flag. Governments have their policies and ideologies however they are or are not passed into law. They might want to fly a flag that represents a particular cause however until or unless a law is passed that says they can then tough. On a side note I love how the gay community (and supporters of marriage equality) will call me a homophobe and accuse me of trying to push my beliefs and opinions on to others if I'm not screaming for marriage equality. Yet they are doing precisely that to everyone else."
Brenda Langford: "It;s the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia - of course fly the flag!! Its only 1 day."
Lisa Marie: "I'm all for anyone who loves each other to be married and live in happiness and I'll stand on the streets yelling out support for equality. But I completely agree with the council that there needs to be restrictions on what flags can be flown and it shouldn't be flying flags representing any minority community groups regardless of the cause."
Ellen Deplanque: "I want my cats flag up. seriously grow up sexual preferences should be kept private. grow up the lot of you. can i put a straight flag up? can i? No one cares who you want to screw. stop saying people are homophobic. think before you speak."
Craig Richmond: "Of course, everyone's homophobic if they don't agree with gay lifestyle choice aren't they Jason... The council has no obligation to wave the rainbow flag, doesn't mean they hate homosexuals."