Tampa Public Employee Calls Rainbow Flag Raised In Memory of Orlando “Nearly Unbearable Hostile Work Environment”

Jim Burroway

June 18th, 2016

RainbowFlagTampaHillsborough County (Tampa) officials raised a rainbow flag outside the Hillsborough Center in memory of the victims of the Pulse gay night club massacre in Orlando. The flag went up on Wednesday after the County Commission voted to honor the Orlando victims, but not before the County Commission heard complaints from local anti-gay activists. “I want to say that these people that were killed were Americans, “said longtime conservative activist Terry Kemple. “They weren’t LGBT. … They were Americans.” He added:

“I have to say that it wasn’t that long ago that you all voted to take down a plaque that had the Confederate flag on it because it might offend some people,” Kemple said. “I can assure you that if you vote to raise the rainbow flag above county center, it will offend some people.”

The commission voted 5-1 to fly the flag and to recognizes this month each years as LGBT Pride Month. The flag went up soon after. Just one day after it was raised, Republican County Commissioner Stacy White, who was not present during the Wednesday meeting, called for the flag’s removal:

In an email sent to the the county human relations director Peggy Rowe on Thursday, White said he received an anonymous complaint from a county employee that the presence of the flag was “nearly unbearable” for her to pass on her way to work and created a “hostile work environment.”

Calling the rainbow flag a “divisive, politically-charged symbol,” White asked Rowe if it could become an HR problem for the county. If it does, then White said he wanted a special meeting of the county commission to consider removing it.

…“It is still – in my view – unconscionable that the county administrator didn’t express to the board that this divisive symbol might create an uncomfortable workplace environment for many of his employees,” White wrote.

The Tampa Bay Times has reprinted White’s email to Rowe and county administrator Mike Merrill’s response.



June 18th, 2016

Oh, bless their poor little heart…


June 18th, 2016

…and the answer should simply be, now and for always… no.

Ben in oakland

June 18th, 2016

It is so, so horrible to have to be reminded of your defeat, every single day, the loss of your ability to hold dominion for your religious beliefs over others, and the failure of your god to do a thing about any of them, despite all of your prayers and entreaties. It’s almost as if God isn’t the sock puppet you believe him to be..


and hoo.

I rejoice most rejoicing Ly in your weeping,by our wailing, and your gnashing of teeth.


June 19th, 2016

I’m afraid my response to the poor “Christian” who finds recognition of the victims of a horrible bias crime “almost unbearable” is simply: Grow up and get over yourself. You’re not the center of the universe, which most of us had figured out around age two.


June 19th, 2016

And another thought, which I left in the comments at the article at Tampa Bay Times: What kind of “Christian” finds a commemoration of the victims of the worst mass murder in American history “offensive”?


June 19th, 2016

What a farce. If the caller was anonymous then how could White know with any certainty that they were an employee and not just some random crank? That’s if the call ever happened in the first place. Has White produced any record of this call? I bet not. In the private sector lying to the HR department can get you sacked.


June 19th, 2016

My soul just threw up.


June 20th, 2016

One flag represents segregation. The other, Unity. Now ask the cry baby Christians who invented the rainbow.


June 20th, 2016

I wonder how much this woman creates a nearly intolerably hostile work environment wherever she goes.


June 20th, 2016


The sad true is that many people, including many Americans, don’t see what happened in Orlando as a tragedy. Many are gleeful at what happened or antipathetic. They don’t care that 49 innocent people were gunned down. People like the employee want no recognition of the victims.

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