I was surprised to read on Scottish Borders Council’s website that it had hoisted the Commonwealth flag at its headquarters on March 10, in the presence of the convener and Lord Lieutenant.
I believe that council policy is to only fly national flags. In the past the local authority has declined to fly the rainbow flag – a symbol of peace and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) equality.
Homosexuality is a criminal offence in 41 out of the 52 Commonwealth countries. Uganda has recently introduced extreme measures against homosexual people and their friends, while new anti-gay laws in Nigeria have led to a spate of attacks on people suspected of being homosexual.
The council convener said: “Our pledge is to support the Commonwealth working together for a future in which there is freedom and justice and prosperity for all.”
If this pledge is genuine, the convener must write to the relevant Commonwealth heads of government advocating equality for homosexuals.
Furthermore, the council should prominently display the LGBT rainbow flag in solidarity with the oppressed peoples of the Commonwealth. An appropriate date is May 17 – International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO day).