Pride flag flies for first time in B.C.’s ‘Bible Belt’
The City of Abbotsford and the communities that surround it in the Fraser Valley have long been known as British Columbia’s “Bible Belt” -- a bastion of the religious right in Canada’s leftmost province.
So Monday was something of a historic day for Abbotsford, as the rainbow flag that symbolizes gay pride flew over City Hall for the first time.
The mayor and city council unanimously supported flying the flag from July 13 to 20.
"We want to be inclusive of all people,” said Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun. “I've said this throughout this, that, we need to reach out and love our neighbours. Part of that is doing what we're doing today."
The flying flag unofficially kicks of Abbotsford’s third annual Fraser Valley Pride Celebration, which runs July 17-19.
But not everyone was pleased with the groundbreaking decision.
On woman told CTV News she finds the idea of the city flying a rainbow flag “disgusting.”
“They want to have a gay parade? Fine,” she said. “But for our City Council to put up the flag? No. I don't think so. It's not right."
Abbotsford parent Kelly Hill had a much different perspective. She shed a few tears of joy on seeing the flag raised over City Hall.
“My son is gay,” she said. “I just never thought I'd see this day. I'm thrilled."
In Vancouver, pride week begins July 25 and runs through Aug. 2.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Peter Grainger