The local council in England voted seven to six against a motion to fly the rainbow flag from the local town hall for Oxford Pride in June 2017, saying it would set a "clear precedent" for other flags to be flown in Abingdon. Robert Jordan, Oxford Pride's chairman criticised the council for its "backward" thinking and condemned them for showing inequality, according to a BBC report.
"I genuinely believed we lived in progressive times," said Jordan. "I'm shocked and appalled of the town I live in, where for one day of the year one flag can't be flown to show acceptance, tolerance and that all inhabitants are welcome."
A Change.org petition protesting Abingdon council's decision has been signed by more than 1,000 people. Mark Holton, from Swindon, said: "By not flying the flag it suggests it's OK in Oxfordshire to be homophobic."
Mike Badcock, Tory council leader said: "The council has a long-standing policy on which flags it flies from the county hall."
These include the Union flag, flag of St George, the town's flag, Commonwealth and Armed Forces Day flags, as well as the "appropriate royal standard" during royal visits.
Badcock stated that Oxford Pride was not an Abingdon event but would consider allowing a rainbow flag to be raised at the marketplace flagpole. On the Facebook page for Oxford Pride, one of the town councillors was reported as saying: "What kind of message would it be sending to the town?"
An Oxford Pride spokesperson said in a Pink News report: "It's important to show the community that their town supports them regardless of sexuality and gender, unfortunately some of Abingdon Town Council don't agree!
"For the Town Council to refuse this emblem of inclusion and acceptance, indicates that there are some still in control who do not wish such virtues to be part of an English town."