National Newswatch

TORONTO - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford refused to explain today why he remained seated while city council gave a standing ovation to organizers of the recent WorldPride festival.

He did not answer questions from reporters outside his office about why he didn't stand along with fellow councillors, but said he's not homophobic.

It's not the first time Ford has come under fire for an apparent lack of support for the city's gay community.

Ford has not attended the annual pride parade as mayor — explaining his absence by way of a family tradition of spending the Canada Day long weekend at the cottage — though he did attend a flag-raising ceremony last year to commence Pride Week.

Earlier this year Ford opposed the raising of a rainbow flag at city hall during the Sochi Winter Olympics as a gesture to protest anti-gay laws in Russia, saying the Olympics are about patriotism, not "sexual preference."

Shortly before he left for two months in rehab he made anti-gay and racist remarks at a bar, in audio obtained by a Toronto newspaper.

When he returned June 30, Ford apologized to those hurt by his words and actions, saying “I'm ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated.''

In later interviews with television networks, he blamed the disease he was battling, saying it makes you say and do things that aren’t you.

The Canadian Press
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