The gay community in St. Stephen, N.B., is mobilizing to make sure they get a rainbow crosswalk after the initial idea was met with a cool reception.

The issue began with a request from the Gay-Straight Alliance at St. Stephen Middle School. They want a rainbow pride crosswalk painted outside the school.

That request found its way to Town Hall.

"It became… what I would call a heated debate," says councillor Marg Harding.

Harding was surprised it was even up for discussion.

“We're always talking about inclusion and how wonderful our town is, and I still believe it is, but if not inclusive completely then I think that we'll have problems," says Harding.

Rev. Lesley Hamilton, a member of the local gay community, says attracting young people to the area will be one of those problems.

"If a community this size wants to be vibrant and viable in the future, yes, it may be about job creation to some extent, but more than anything else it's about creating a welcoming community," Hamilton says.

Gay community member Sue Weatherby says there is a divide in town.

"My idea of a tolerant society is to have discussions where you don't agree and come out respectful at the end," Weatherby says. "People have a right to their own religious beliefs, and there is a minority that believe homosexuality is wrong, but as I said, I don't think that reflects the attitude of the majority."

Mayor Allan MacEachern told CTV News he originally thought a giant rainbow mural would be better suited in St. Stephen, as it would be less likely to be defaced. He now feels the rainbow crosswalk will happen in town within a few weeks.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.