Town will vote on proposed Pride flag ban after rainbow crosswalk infuriates residents
Author: Molly Sprayregen
A rainbow crosswalk has stirred up enough anti-LGBTQ+ hate in a small Canadian town to warrant a referendum on whether Pride symbols should be allowed on municipal property.
All of this was reportedly fueled by high school students who petitioned the council for permission to paint a rainbow crosswalk in town. The council voted unanimously to allow it.
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The referendum seeks to ban all “political, social, or religious movements or commercial entities” from displaying paraphernalia on municipal crosswalks or flagpoles. While it does not outright mention Pride symbols specifically, the rainbow crosswalk is currently the only thing that would be affected should the referendum pass.
“This is lipstick on bigotry,” Councilor Laura Morie reportedly stated at the meeting to approve holding the referendum.
Not only that, but the group dedicated to passing the referendum – Westlock Neutrality – states on its website that it all started when the council approved “the painting of a rainbow crosswalk on a public street.”
The group claims “the act of promoting one group of people over others violated [the] unwritten rule” of “neutrality and equality in public places.”
Group leader Stephanie Bakker claims she is not leading this movement due to anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment but rather because she claims approving a rainbow crosswalk opens the door to a chaotic future of hateful messaging displayed in public.
“Perhaps the government is choosing a group that you approve of to promote today,” she wrote in a blog post. “But what happens if a party you don’t like gets into office, and now they have the power of promotion and discrimination? Who will they decide is ‘worthy’ or ‘unworthy’? You may not agree with their choice, but it is very hard to take back power once you have given it to the government.”
Bakker claimed that displays like the rainbow crosswalk are akin to giving some communities “preferential treatment” and the government “play[ing] favorites.”
“If anyone comes along asking for everyone to be treated equally, they will be labelled as against the government’s current pet group,” she claimed. “The government, of course, gets to choose who is deserving of this special treatment. Now, they base their favoritism on whether or not a group is a minority or has suffered. But ‘who has suffered most’ is not a game to play to build a thriving society. This promotes victimhood as a way of life.”
She also told the story of growing up with her white half-sister while she was mixed race. She said if her mother treated her and her sister the way the government treats marginalized groups, then only she would have gotten to have birthday parties, and only pictures of her would be hanging on the walls of the house.
“Any requests by her to be treated as an equal daughter would have my mother immediately grounding her and telling her she was a bigot and targeting me with discrimination,” she said.
Calls to ban the Pride flag have taken place across the United States, as well. The newly Republican-dominated town council of Enfield, Connecticut recently banned the Pride flag from town-owned buildings – with one official even claiming that flying the Pride flag is a gateway to allowing terrorist groups like ISIS to fly theirs.
In Tennessee, a state representative said parents want their children raised with the values “that were in existence at the time that our country was founded,” as he shepherded a bill to ban the display of Pride flags on state property through the Tennessee legislature.
But earlier this month, one Canadian town actually reversed its decision to ban Pride flags from city property.
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Author: Molly Sprayregen