Ontario township mayor faces backlash over homophobic comments, decision not to raise Pride flag

Since Amaranth Township Mayor Bob Currie's comments, a petition has been launched calling for his removal from office. As of Thursday afternoon, more than 4,000 people have signed the petition. Facebook/ Bob Currie for Mayor of Amaranth

Ontario’s Amaranth Township Mayor Bob Currie is facing backlash after he made homophobic comments at a recent council meeting, where he also said the municipality should not raise the Pride flag.

“I don’t think we should be flying the flag for this year,” Currie said at a council meeting on June 17.

“If everybody was either lesbian or homosexual, this would be the last generation on earth because two homosexuals cannot produce offspring, two lesbians cannot produce offspring. Why would I want to support something when this could be the last generation on earth?”

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Since Currie’s comments, a petition has been launched calling for the local mayor to be removed from office. As of Thursday afternoon, more than 4,000 people have signed the petition.

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Currie’s comments at the council meeting came in response to a letter that was read out from Amaranth resident Stacey Whittington.

Whittington, a member of the LGBTQ2 community and the region’s Pride group, wrote a letter to council regarding the raising of the Pride flag outside of the township’s office.

“We had worked on getting the Pride flag put up for the month of June at our school, which is across the street from the township office,” Whittington told Global News on Thursday.

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“When I was working on that, I did notice that the township office had not put up the Pride flag, and I thought, ‘I should look into that.'”

When Whittington listened to the June 17 council meeting and heard Currie’s comments, she was “horrified.”

“I am a person in a community. I have kids that are in this community that go to the school across the street,” Whittington said.

“I really still can’t believe that something like that is considered acceptable by anyone, especially somebody that has set themselves up as a representative of our community.”

Since the incident, several officials have spoken out in response to Currie’s comments.

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On Wednesday, Dufferin-Caledon MP Kyle Seeback said Currie needs to “immediately apologize” or “immediately resign.”

Click to play video: 'A conversation about Pride Month and anti-Black racism' A conversation about Pride Month and anti-Black racism
A conversation about Pride Month and anti-Black racism – Jun 20, 2020

“The time to make excuses for people who make discriminatory comments and statements is over,” Seeback said in a statement.

“If we fail to call out those who make such contemptible and immensely hurtful statements, our silence makes us complicit, and we take a considerable step backwards in achieving inclusivity, equal rights and mutual respect for each other.”

Sylvia Jones, Dufferin-Caledon MPP and Ontario’s solicitor general, has also decried Currie’s statements.

“I have zero tolerance for hate and discrimination in any form,” Jones said over Facebook on Wednesday. “As elected officials, we have a duty to represent everyone in our community with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

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Dufferin County Warden Darren White also condemned Currie’s comments on Tuesday.

“I can’t begin to fathom the pain caused by comments made recently and I promise that your county government and its many staff members stand with you, today and every day,” White said on Facebook.

“There is simply no place in leadership at any level that includes hateful and divisive comments that serve only to hurt.”

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While Whittington said she’s pleased that elected officials have spoken up, she wants to know what the next steps are.

“While the words are wonderful and the support is absolutely fantastic, and I appreciate it, we need some action on the ground here,” Whittington said.

Global News reached out to Currie for comment but was told he wasn’t providing any more interviews in relation to his statements made at the June 17 council meeting.

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Bringing anti-racism awareness to Pride – Jun 17, 2020

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