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Florida Politician: Pride Flag 'Divisive, Politically-Charged'

Florida Politician: Pride Flag 'Divisive, Politically-Charged'


Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White is fuming after his city raised a Pride flag following the murders of 49 in an LGBT nightclub in Orlando.


As cities around the nation have done this week for Pride month and in honor of the victims of Orlando, a rainbow flag was raised outside the Hillsborough County center in west central Florida. It only took a day for Republican commissioner Stacy White to pen an angry letter suggesting it be taken down.

White told the county's Human Resources director Peggy Rowe on Thursday that he received an "anonymous" call from a county employee who's Christian and believes the flag creates a "hostile work environment" for her. White suggested the flag be taken down if it creates a "liability" for the county and repeatedly referred to the flag as "divisive," and also called it "politically-charged."

"I wish to state for the record that, even if there is deemed to be zero liability from an HR perspective, it is still - in my view - unconscionable that the county administrator didn't express to the board that this divisive symbol might create an uncomfortable workplace environment for many of his employees."

Rowe quickly responded. While she said she will look into the matter, she noted that she has received zero complaints about the flag.

"I believe that I had no reasonable basis to believe that the Board's action would create a hostile or uncomfortable work environment."

Since the story broke in the Tampa Bay Times, LGBT supportive people have bombarded White's Facebook page accusing him of homophobia during a very delicate time for LGBT people, especially in Florida.

"You were elected to represent your district which includes LGBT people and the vast majority of people who have no hatred or ill-will toward them," wrote one commenter. "If you have enough time in your day to write a letter complaining about a flag flown to offer compassion to the victims of a brutal murder, I wish you would find something more productive to do on behalf of the citizens you serve."

After last year's mass shooting in Charleston, S.C., that claimed the lives of nine black church attendees, White worked to stymie efforts to remove a Confederate flag from Hillsborough County offices. White initially said he wanted to put the issue to voters, but eventually relented when it was clear he didn't have the backing of his fellow commissioners.

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