The decision by the Port Phillip Council to replace the Australian flag with the gay pride flag in anticipation of this weekend’s pride celebration in St. Kilda is drawing controversy in the Melbourne suburb.
According to the Herald Sun, the council, which kept flying the local and national Aboriginal flags, has been accused of “pandering to minority groups” and degrading the national flag.
The Sun reported that RSL state president Maj. Gen. David McLachlan said, “Whether people are heterosexual or homosexual or alternate they are Australians and the primacy of the flag in protocol is the Australian flag and that should be flown before all other flags.”
Port Phillip mayor Rachel Powning defended the decision as being within protocol, and she questioned why the issue was raised only when the LGBT community was being honored. The Australian flag is also replaced temporarily on occasions like United Nations Day, she said.
The pride celebration takes place on Sunday.