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Updated: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 19:43:56 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Rob Ford wanted rainbow flag removed from Toronto City Hall



Rob Ford wanted rainbow flag removed from Toronto City Hall

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he does not support having the rainbow flag flying at city hall during the Sochi Games, and wanted it taken down as soon as it was raised Friday. But it looks as if the pride flag will stay up for the duration of the Olympics..

The flag, an international symbol of gay rights, went up on one of the flagpoles outside city hall just as the opening ceremonies were underway in Russia Friday. The flag-raising was meant as a response to Olympic host country Russia's anti-gay laws. Several other municipalities around Canada have done the same.

"This is about Olympics," Ford told reporters. "This is about being patriotic to your country, this is not about someone's sexual preference."

Shortly after Ford made the comments, Coun. Anthony Perruzza went into the mayor's office to speak to him about the rainbow flag.

"I think we can fly both," said Perruzza. "There's an important principle at play here. We are an inclusive country."

In protest, Ford placed a Canadian flag in his office window.

City Manager Joe Pennachetti sent a letter to the mayor and councillors reminding them of flag protocol on Friday afternoon.

The rainbow flag is flying at the request of the 519 Church Street Community Centre, and Ford has no power to have it removed, Pennachetti wrote. The flag will remain flying for the duration of the Olympics.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said he supports keeping the rainbow flag up, saying it sends a message to the host country, which has been under fire for its anti-gay laws.

"There's no antagonism between the two flags," said Kelly. "Cities right across the country are doing this. This is an expression of Canadianism."

Rainbow flags are currently flying in municipalities across Canada, like Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

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