norwich ontario

Ontario town bans Pride flags on property and people are furious

A rural southwestern Ontario community has voted to exclude Pride flags and all other non-civic flags from being permitted to fly on municipal properties and streetlight poles, and some local residents are furious. 

The new bylaw approved in Norwich, Ont. will only allow flags representing the municipal, provincial, and federal governments to fly on township property, or banners related to the promotion of downtown businesses or downtown beautification. 

The original bylaw was proposed by Coun. John Scholten at a Tuesday night council meeting and specifically targeted Pride and Progress banners. 

"Whether flown together or apart, these [government] flags are all we need to represent the diverse and multicultural citizenship in Norwich Township," Scholten said. "By flying these flags alone on township property, we can coexist in peace and harmony no matter who we are or what we believe." 

However, an amendment to the bylaw excluded any specific reference to Pride and Progress banners, and instead focused on any flags that didn't meet the criteria. 

The bylaw drew crowds of supporters and opposing 2SLGBTQI+ advocates who called the motion "homophobic" and "un-Canadian." 

Scholten suggested that raising the Pride flag would inspire other communities to request their own flags as well. 

The motion managed to pass 3-2 with Mayor Jim Palmer breaking the tie.

In 2022, rainbow flags hanging on the town's lamp posts in celebration of Pride month were ripped and burned down in protest. 

The council also voted against a motion that would recognize June as Pride month in the township. 

Lead photo by

Drahomír Posteby-Mach

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