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Florida official complains: Raising LGBT flag after Orlando creates ‘hostile work environment’

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An official in Hillsborough County, Florida is upset that the local county commission chose to fly the LGBT rainbow Pride flag outside a public facility, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Commissioner Stacy White, a Tea Party Republican, called for a meeting to consider removing the flag, which was raised outside the Hillsborough County Center on Wednesday in the aftermath of the mass shooting attack in Orlando.

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White was not present when the commission voted 5-1 to raise the flag through the end of the month, which sees LGBT Pride celebrations around the country. But he sent an email to Peggy Rowe, the county’s human resources director, saying that it was a “divisive, politically-charged symbol” and that it could create a liability issue for the county.

“My office recently received an anonymous phone call from a county employee stating that, because of her strong Christian beliefs, it will be nearly unbearable for her pass the ‘pride’ flag each morning as she enters the workplace,” White wrote. “She clearly indicated that the display of that flag, for her, has created a hostile work environment.”

County Administrator Mike Merrill responded in a memo on Thursday saying that he was unaware of objections from any county employee prior to the vote for raising 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,” he said.

White has a history of antipathy toward LGBT issues. Watermark Online reported in 2013 that he was the only commission member who refused to sign a petition declaring March 28 Tampa Pride Day. He said he did so “from a place of respect.”

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[h/t The Friendly Atheist]


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