'If I hurt somebody, that's their problem, not mine,' Ontario mayor stands by not flying Pride flag
AMARANTH, ONT. -- Amaranth Mayor Bob Currie is not backing down on controversial comments he made during an online council meeting recently.
"If it's a true statement, why would I apologize for what I said?" he said.
During a town council Zoom meeting on June 17, the longtime mayor responded to a resident's letter asking why the township isn't flying a Pride flag this month.
"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. So, why would I want to support something when this would be the last generation on Earth? I'm not going to go there," Currie said.
Currie, a devout Christian, said the Pride flag hasn't been raised in Amaranth in his 18 years as mayor.
"If I hurt somebody, that's their problem, not mine," he told CTV News today. "But anyways, I did not say, I don't say what I do say, okay, to offend people."
Stacey Whittington wrote the letter about flying the pride flag during June, which is Pride Month. She said she was "horrified" by the mayor's response.
"Just horrified that in 2020, in this township with a large LGBTQ community, that our mayor is saying these things and having them inform his choices as our mayor," Whittington said
Jim Waddington called the response from the mayor "disgraceful."
Waddington is a member of the gay community and an organizer of Orangeville Pride. He said he and 2,000 others have signed a petition calling for the mayor to step down.
"Your fossil mentality in regards to this type of new world needs to be removed," Waddington said.
Amaranth Township Deputy Mayor Chris Gerrits said he was "caught off-guard" by Currie's comments. "I'm upset that I didn't say anything, but that's the reason why."
Mayor Currie said he's been overwhelmed with support and not everyone in town is calling for his resignation.
"Everybody has the right to say what they feel, and that was his personal belief," said resident Susan Graham. "I'm not no one to knock him down or anybody else that feels that way or doesn't feel that way."
The mayor's daughter, Susan Walkinshaw, said her 80-year-old father is not homophobic.
"He is a fantastic business person. He's a loving father. He's an incredible grandfather, and he would never do something to offend someone or hurt someone.
He's not a politician. He speaks the truth. He speaks his mind," she added.
Meanwhile, Currie said he has no plans to step down, regardless of a petition for his resignation.