ACT rejects ACL bid to keep rainbow flags out of Canberra

The ACT government has rejected calls from Australian Christian Lobby to remove rainbow flags flying in Canberra because they’re too political.

In a video posted to ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s social media last Tuesday, Mr Barr said Canberra is Australia’s most LGBTI friendly city and the ACT aimed to be inclusive.

“We want to celebrate that and show our support for marriage equality,” he said.

The Australian Christian Lobby’s director Lyle Shelton said it was “no longer appropriate” for the rainbow flag to be flown “on public land” as it had become a symbol closely linked to a political movement advocating for the “Safe Schools” program and “the redefinition of marriage”.

“This is public land in the parliamentary triangle which belongs to all Australians, not just Canberrans, and it’s being used to push a political agenda,” Mr Shelton said.

“I think most Australians would expect that to be an apolitical space.”

But a defiant Mr Barr, who is openly gay, said the flags would stay flying, and wrote on Facebook he’s “looking forward to flying the rainbow flags again later in the year during the Canberra SpringOut Pride Festival”.

He told The Canberra Times that the ACT parliament supported marriage equality, the majority of Canberra’s residents supported marriage equality and it was time for the federal parliament to change the laws.

“The vast majority of Canberrans support marriage equality and want the Federal Parliament to do its job and legislate as such,” Barr said.

“The ACT government will continue to advocate on this issue and on the rights of LGBTIQ people more generally because it is the right thing to do.”

He said the ACT government voted to support marriage equality last year and last week passed legislation to automatically recognise overseas same-sex marriages.

In Queensland, the Brisbane City Council have flown a rainbow flag at City Hall on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Several regional councils around the state have done the same.

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