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Rainbow BC to Interior's Mayors:  'Them's fighting words'

RAINBOW BC today announced its intention to ask every city in the province of British Columbia to proclaim Pride Day and the province itself Pride Week.

Previous News
BC Group Wins Against Mayor for Proclaiming Pride Day with No 'Pride'
The announcement came in the wake of a reported resolution by the Okanagan Mainline Municipal Association to ask its provincial counterpart, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, to take steps towards removing obligations in the provincial Human Rights Code whereby mayors are to proclaim Pride days.

Rainbow BC also stated it would fight any such plans.

"First we won a case against the mayor of Kelowna when he tried to take 'Pride' out of Lesbian and Gay Pride Day.  The Okanagan Rainbow Coalition has every expectation of winning a case against [the town of] Oliver in July.  What is clear is that the mayors do not want to obey the law of this province, which forbids discrimination against their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender taxpayers," said barbara findlay, lawyer for the Okanagan Rainbow Coalition.

Kelowna mayor Walter Gray was ordered by the BC Human Rights Tribunal in late March to treat requests for proclamations from the Community in the same way as he would those of other groups.  The order came subsequent to a complaint by the Okanagan Rainbow Coalition that Mayor Gray had proclaimed the 1997 celebration as 'Gay and Lesbian Day.'  The Tribunal ruled that the omission of the word 'Pride' was discriminatory and "tantamount to a public insult."

A mayor becomes nothing more than a rubber-stamping robot.
- Kelowna mayor Walter Gray
"It is a measure of the homophobia in this province, and a measure of how important Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Pride Days really are, that mayors actually want to change the law rather than proclaim those days of dignity and celebration for our communities.  This is especially tragic for queers in smaller communities who are the most vulnerable to being harassed or beaten if it becomes known that they are gay," commented Craig Maynard, a member of Rainbow BC, today.

Following the March ruling Mayor Gray had threatened to ask Kelowna City Council that proclamations from all groups for 'Days' be stopped, saying he would refuse to become "nothing more than a rubber-stamping robot."

Ms. findlay retorted at that time by saying she would complain of discrimination again based on the Community being perceived as the cause of the all-out ban.  "That further increases intolerance" she had said in a statement.

"We are confident that the member-mayors of the UBCM will respect the human rights of all of the taxpayers of the province.  But it is obviously time to stop fighting these proclamation battles one at a time, and to establish the place of lesbians, gay men,  bisexual and transgendered people in the public life of this province," she declared.