A rainbow flag will fly above the Lord Mayor’s residence in York after a motion to block the move was defeated by a large majority yesterday.
A Labour councillor’s motion to fly the rainbow flag on 21 July for the city’s pride celebrations and ask MPs to support marriage equality had been met with opposition from a Tory councillor who tabled an amendment to bar the flag.
Chris Steward said the Conservatives supported Pride and that he would oppose the flying of flags for other days, including the White Rose flag on Yorkshire Day. The motion to ask MPs to support equal marriage was not affected.
36 voted against Councillor Steward’s amendment to block the rainbow flag, with 9 in favour and 1 abstention.
The original motion to fly the flag and ask MPs to support equal marriage rights for gay couples was then passed, 41 in favour with 5 abstentions. No councillors voted against it.
Dan Sidley, Chair of York Pride told PinkNews.co.uk the motion had the “full support of York Pride, which has fought to have the rainbow flag flying at the Mansion House for the first time”.
He said the organisers were “delighted to see the City of York Council pass this with such a huge majority”.
“The York Pride event on 21 July has a theme of marriage equality and we now know that we have the strong support of both the City of York Council and York MP, Hugh Bayley, for such legislation. It is wonderful that in such a historic city, our first Pride Parade through the city will make new history by passing York’s Mansion House, where a rainbow flag will be flying high.”
Mr Sidley said it was “commonplace” for York residents to still feel unable to express their sexuality to their friends, family and colleagues “for fear of rejection and alienation”.
He continued: “York Pride urges the people of York and the politicans that represent us to do everything they can to remove this fear from people’s lives and to help gay and lesbian people to live happily and with equality in this city.
“We were hugely disappointed by the proposed amendment from Cllr Steward on behalf of the Conservative Group, which sought to remove reference to the flying of the rainbow flag at the Mansion House and to seeking the support of York’s MPs for equal marriage rights.
“York Pride felt that this amendment would have reinforced the concern that local gay people can sometimes feel about being second-class citizens, and we were very pleased – but unsurprised – to see it so heavily defeated.”