CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council will cut a lone figure during the LGBT History Month as it has decided not to fly the rainbow flag at County Hall. Numerous councils across the U.K. have decided to fly the rainbow flag proudly in support of employees and the communities they represent and serve however following motions, discussions and meetings it fell to council leader Emlyn Dole to deliver the news to Cllr Andre McPherson that his motion had been defeated and his request had been denied.
Cllr Dole did point out that the council have been listed amongst the top 12 local authorities in Wales to work for by Stonewall in 2016 and that the council had been a member of Stonewall for over five years.
Cllr McPherson had raised the matter at previous council meetings and the request had been sent to a cross party working group with the acronym of CRWG. The outcome of that meeting Cllr McPherson was told was that the council has a well established policy for flying flags outside civic buildings and that his request fell outside of that policy.
Cllr Dole pointed out that the council had also supported calls to show solidarity with HIV positive people and those living in Carmarthenshire with AIDS by wearing red ribbons and for victims of domestic abuse by wearing white ribbons. He said that the council had received requests to fly flags from a number of organisations each year and that they had turned down all requests, which fell outside of the council’s existing protocol. The decision Cllr McPherson was told was that it was unanimously decided not to change the policy and not to fly any flags other than those adhering to the policy in place.
Speaking at the full council meeting on Wednesday (Feb 14) the leader of the council Emlyn Dole said that a number of requests were received each year from organisations. He said that the line he took in response to policy set by the council was to turn down all requests which fell outside of existing protocol. He said that the decision was not to fly the rainbow flag during LGBT History Month and that is was unanimously decided not to change the policy and not to fly any flags other than those within the policy in place.
Speaking to Llanelli Online following the meeting Cllr McPherson said: “There is no doubt that council does a wonderful job of supporting LGBTQ employees. The council also need to show support to the community to stand and shout not whisper. Other councils go much further in showing their support including Caerphilly, Neath and Rhondda Cynon Taf.”
Hammersmith and Fulham Council have a flag flying policy inclusive of LGBT as can be seen here.