Mayor of Antwerp calls for ban on civil servants wearing rainbow t-shirts

The city's mayor said rainbow t-shirts conflict with the coalition government's policy of neturality

Mayor of Antwerp calls for ban on civil servants wearing rainbow t-shirts
04 February 2013 Print This Article

The Mayor of Antwerp has said civil servants should not be allowed to wear rainbow t-shirts during office hours.

Speaking in an interview with Belgian newspapers Het Nieuwsblad and De Standard, Bart De Wever, a Flemish nationalist, said wearing rainbow t-shirts would conflict with a policy of neutrality in Antwerp.

He pointed to a coalition agreement which states ‘external symbols pointing to a philosophical or political conviction, support for a trade union, or sports club’ may not be worn during office.

He said: ‘There are limits to every form of expression. This is especially the case when you are sitting a a counter on behalf of the city of Antwerp.

‘I don’t want somebody with a rainbow t-shirt at a counter, because in this way a homosexual makes clear that he or she adheres to this obedience.’

However he denied having anything against gay people, telling Belgian VRT Radio: ‘I have always defended equal rights for gays and I have consistently defended this view in words and in deeds.

‘But neutrality is neutrality and to maintain this you have to identify showy expressions of personal preference.’

De Wever’s comments have been criticized by Antwerp’s main opposition party, the socialist SPA, who said neutrality and diversity should not conflict.

The Belgian youth organization Wel Jong Niet hetero also reacted by encouraging politicians who disagree with the mayor’s comments to go to parliament ‘as themselves’ next week.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Gay man wins, then proposes, on Australian Big Brother

The first openly gay man to win the ninth series of the reality show proposed and kissed his boyfriend on live TV
No thumbnail available

See gay fitness model Bryan Hawn's sexy parody of Miranda Lambert's Little Red Wagon

He pours milk all over his body and rides a Radio Flyer in an adults only way
No thumbnail available

Out hotelier Mati Weiderpass no longer sorry for hosting Ted Cruz, slams 'gay extremists'

'Boycotting me for a discussion? When did we grown so small and intolerant?'
No thumbnail available

The history of a court case that ended anti-sodomy laws

Lawrence v. Texas:  the case that argued for the equality of LGBT citizens
No thumbnail available

Why the story of Jesus’ birth has a particular message for LGBTIs

‘Being queer makes me no less black or Christian’
No thumbnail available

Beverly Hills Hotel responds to accusation they are owned by homophobes

Hotel spokesperson says Brunei government owners do not effect their policies, but protest organizer says that's not the point
No thumbnail available

Gay kiss-in marks Valentine's Day in London

Survey finds 56% of gay Londoners are not comfortable kissing in public
No thumbnail available

Barbie given 'drag queen' make-over

Barbie doll given make-over by New York designer
No thumbnail available

Julianne Moore to play Ellen Page’s lesbian partner in new film

Hollywood stars will play a couple who struggle with the state's homophobia as one of them becomes terminally ill
No thumbnail available

Ohio mom steps up campaign against Boy Scouts of America anti-gay rules

Jennifer Tyrrell: 'This movement doesn’t stop because 11 anonymous men behind closed doors made a decision to keep discrimination in place'