CALGARY — A Calgary man says he will quit his job if he’s assigned to drive a bus wrapped in a rainbow flag.
The annual Calgary Pride Festival kicks off Friday and, as a show of support, a Calgary Transit bus has been wrapped in the symbol of inclusiveness.
The rainbow flag bus will operate through Sept. 7, the day of the parade.
Jesse Rau, who has worked for Calgary Transit as a driver for about a year, says he’s a Christian and can’t support homosexuality.
Rau hopes Calgary Transit and the Amalgamated Transit Union will support drivers who don’t want to drive the rainbow bus.
Doug Morgan, director of Calgary Transit, says drivers can only refuse to work based on safety issues.
“What we would do is open a dialogue with them and chat with them and ask them about their issues and making sure we’re being sensitive to their beliefs, but overall the service has to go out and we would ask them to drive the bus,” Morgan said.
Rau said he hopes he would be assigned to another bus.
“I have a family to support and I am very concerned about losing the job, it’s something I’m very proud to be a part of, but when it goes against the most important things I stand for, or if I’m asked to compromise in such a big way for what I believe to be right, then I have to lose my job,” Rau said.
“I’m a Christian so, as a Christian, there are things like homosexuality that I just can’t condone. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, the accusation is that you hate the person.”
Calgary Pride’s director of government affairs, Craig Sklenar, says the bus is a symbol of progress.
“It’s a sign of the change in Calgary,” said Sklenar. “There’s still much to do in as much as LGBTQ rights are concerned but we are excited there is such public displays of pride across the city over the next few weeks.”