News (World)

The Pride flag is back after a small town reverses its controversial ban

Rainbow flag
Photo: Shutterstock

A small Canadian municipality is making headlines of a different kind this week after reversing a decision to ban Pride flags from city property.

The ban divided residents of Norwich, Ontario, after the small town prohibited non-government flags, and the decision made national headlines last May. The original wording of the measure banning all non-government flags specified the Pride flag and the Progress Pride flags as the targets of the ban, but former Norwich Councilor John Scholten, who proposed the measure, changed the wording to make it appear more neutral.

The ban resulted in Pride flags stolen from residences, angry confrontations, and internet arguments.

The township’s council voted to install a “community flagpole” that would fly flags representing various causes. Residents can request specific banners to be raised.

“This is definitely a step in the right direction for our community,” said Norwich Councilor Lynne DePlancke, who voted to reverse the ban.

“The reality of ongoing hate within the Norwich community cannot be ignored, and while it is heartening to witness the dedication of those who strive to address this issue, I also feel hesitant to be too joyous,” said former Norwich Councilor Alisha Stubbs. She resigned in protest last May when the original flag ban was passed.

“The community — and specific, targeted individuals — have gone through disgusting, awful, and dangerous situations as the result of hate. Each community member plays a role in fostering a community free from the shackles of hatred, and important ongoing actions will need to happen far beyond flying the flag.”

Several flags were pre-approved, including the Pride, Black History Month, and United Nations flags.

Alex Bollinger contributed to this article.

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