O rganisers of Oxford Pride have expressed their anger at a vote by Abingdon Town Council not to fly a rainbow flag at the town hall, citing worries about how the town will be viewed if it does. The council met Rainbow_Abingdonrecently and voted 7 to 6 not to fly the flag, with one Councillor asking ‘what kind of message it would send to the town.’ Several members of the Oxford Pride committee live in Abingdon including Creative Director Spike Greenwood.  “Oxford Pride helps many LGBT+ people and their families in towns around Oxford.” He said.  “We believe flying the Rainbow Flag supports tolerance and acceptance and shows our towns as places of hope and modernity. For Abingdon Town Council to actively refuse the call to fly the flag, suggests there are those still in control who do not seem to want diversity and inclusivity to be part of our English towns. This is wrong. Abingdon IS diverse, IS tolerant, and IS welcoming – Oxford Pride believes it should be proud to fly the flag that shows these qualities”

The Chair, Secretary and Creative Director of Oxford Pride all live in Abingdon and the town has many LGBT+ individuals and families living there. The suggestion to fly the flag was to show the town is supportive and proud of the LGBT+ residents so naturally, the decision not to fly the flag has sent a very mixed message.”

Town council leader Mike Badcock said: “The council debated a motion that Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council fly a rainbow flag from County Hall in conjunction with Oxford Pride. After full and careful debate the motion was not adopted. The council has a long-standing policy on which flags it flies from the County Hall. These flags are the Union Flag, the Flag of St George (England), the Town Flag and, annually, the Commonwealth and the Armed Forces Day flags. In the event of a Royal visit, the appropriate royal standard is also flown. Whilst appreciating the arguments to fly the Rainbow Flag, the council was concerned that if the Rainbow Flag were to be flown this would be a clear precedent which would mean that the Council would come under pressure for other flags to be flown. The current policy is very clear.

 

A petition has now been set up calling for the decision to be over-turned. This can be found by clicking here.

Natalie has been an LGBT journalist for 12 years and joined the Fyne team in 2001. Her interests outside of work are cycling, running and badminton. She is also studying for a degree in psychology.

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