Fla. County Employee Found Pride Flag 'Unbearable'

Commissioner complained about Orlando tribute
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2016 7:26 AM CDT
Fla. County Employee Found Pride Flag 'Unbearable'
The American and gay pride flags fly at half-mast over the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, Monday, June 13, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. The center is a gay-rights support group in Orlando, located about 4 miles from the Pulse nightclub shooting. (Joe Burbank   (/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

A county commissioner in Florida complained about what he called a "divisive, politically-charged symbol" this week: A rainbow flag put up to honor victims of the Orlando shooting. Stacy White wrote to the Hillsborough County HR director, saying his offices received "an anonymous phone call from a county employee stating that, because of her strong Christian beliefs, it will be nearly unbearable for her pass the 'pride' flag each morning as she enters the workplace," the Tampa Bay Times reports. White, a Republican, says the county administrator should have warned that the flag outside the county center could create "an uncomfortable workplace environment." The flag went up on Wednesday after commissioners voted 5-1 in favor of raising it for the rest of June.

County Administrator Mike Merrill told White that the HR department will investigate the complaint, though when the pride flag was raised, he had no reason to believe it would create a "hostile or uncomfortable work environment." At Wednesday's meeting, commissioners also voted to recognize June as LGBT pride month every year and to hold a vigil every June 12 to honor victims of the Orlando massacre, the Times reports. Florida Politics notes that this is a huge change from 11 years ago, when the county was in the news for banning all gay pride events. (This Missouri county quickly reversed its decision not to lower flags on county buildings this week.)

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