Rother denies homophobia following rainbow flag row

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Rother District Council has refuted claims it is homophobic following its refusal to fly the rainbow flag at half mast following the recent massacre in Orlando.

Last week the rainbow flag, a symbol of the LGBT community, was flying at half mast over Hastings Town Hall - but it was absent from Bexhill Town Hall.

Rother said it only flew the flag “on a very limited number of occasions”.

The move has upset a number of people, including Bexhillian Andrew Crotty, who disagrees with the council’s stance.

He said: “I just don’t understand how they could do that.

“If Hastings did it, why can’t Bexhill?

“It would not harm them just to put a flag out.”

He added: “I think they are being homophobic.”

Rother’s decision comes after the rainbow flag flew outside Bexhill Town Hall to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on May 17. (pictured).

Mr Crotty said: “I believe in love instead of hate. It’s the 21st century, we should be accepting of everyone.”

A spokesperson for Rother District Council said: “All forms of discrimination are completely unacceptable to Rother District Council and we were as horrified and saddened as everyone by the attacks in Orlando.

“We do have a policy in place for the flying of flags, but flying the rainbow flag at half-mast is just one way to show solidarity with the LGBT community.

“We have a strong track record of supporting and promoting the rights of every resident regardless of race, creed or sexuality, and we believe continuing to actively encourage equality in our communities is a fitting way to honour those who lost their lives in the attack.”

Mr Crotty also accused Rother of not supporting the Bexhill community, including during the recent Queen’s birthday celebrations.

He said: “The council seems to think they are above normal people, Bexhill people.”

An RDC spokesperson said: “We do everything possible, within our limited budget, to support the community to mark major events.

“As well as supporting the community-led Clean for the Queen in March, we provided funding of up to £500 to help local groups and organisations arrange events and activities to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.”

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