A showdown over Ballarat City Council’s decision to pull down the rainbow flag will come to an end on Wednesday night.
Cr Belinda Coates has proposed a notice of motion that will decide the battle between LGBTQI advocates and opponents of same-sex marriage at the September 27 ordinary general meeting.
She was one of three absent councillors when council voted to review its flag policy on September 13.
Her new motion has proposed for council to promote respectful dialogue when acrimonious public debate about marriage equality might be damaging to the heal of LGBTQI people.
It also asked council to note that it has twice voted in favour of marriage equality – the first time in 2014 and the second in July this year.
The motion also proposed to fly the rainbow flag from the community flag pole and illuminate Ballarat Town Hall in rainbow colours where possible.
Cr Coates said the motion would clear ambiguity that had caused staff to first fly the flag following the July motion, before removing it after the decision on September 13.
“It is a crucial time to be showing support, for LGBTQI community members, it is important to visibly support it so people know councillors do support marriage equality,” she said.
“We have a position of council supporting marriage equality and we have policies of council that mean we value human rights, diversity and equality.
“I hope other councillors will support it because it is a really important time for council to take a strong stance, and say we encourage respectful discussion.”
Council was split 5-4 in favour of approving support for marriage equality in July.
However Cr Amy Johnson said she was reconsidering if council should still be involved in the same-sex marriage debate.
“The community should be able to make up their own minds,” she said.
“The City of Ballarat is supportive of all people, regardless of gender or sexuality, I don’t know whether it is appropriate for council to be seen trying to impact how people are going to vote.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.