A spokesperson for Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis says the LGBTQ Pride Month display on Jacksonville's Acosta Bridge will be back on Wednesday night. They were ordered removed after just one night by the state's Dept. of Transportation, after dozens of other displays went unquestioned.
DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske told Florida Politics, “the lights will be on."
Fenske said FDOT is “letting it go," adding that other lighting displays “went up that were not on the approved list" previously, referring to already in place permits. However, the Pride display was the first to get blocked, a move that roiled locals.
The LGBTQ community remains targeted by DeSantis and his administration.
Permits for lighting other Florida bridges, including in Sarasota and St. Petersburg to celebrate Pride Month were denied, and there's no indication they too will be allowed.
Ordering the Acosta Bridge LGBTQ celebration lights removed is "just the latest in a string of anti-LGBTQ actions" from DeSantis, Equality Florida Communications Manager Michael Womack tells NCRM.
Womack says the Florida Dept. of transportation "answers to the governor," who he notes signed into law Florida's first anti-LGBTQ bill in 24 years. He also says that in 2020 the permit to light the Acosta Bridge in LGBTQ rainbow colors for Pride Month was denied.
It is no coincidence that the Florida governor, a likely 2024 presidential hopeful, chose Jacksonville, a conservative Christian private school, and the first day of Pride Month to sign into law a bill banning transgender girls from playing in girls sports.
“Girls are gonna play girls' sports," DeSantis said June 1. “Boys are going to play boys' sports."
DeSantis chose June 2 to veto legislation that would have provided funds for counseling for survivors of the Pulse massacre and funding for LGBTQ homeless youth.
“Let's be clear about what this is: Governor DeSantis has declared war on Florida's LGBTQ community," Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf, who now works for Equality Florida, told the Orlando Sentinel.
Tuesday the DOT ordered the Pride Light display removed, claiming there was no permit for the event. But the DOT never had a problem with countless other displays, including those recognizing Memorial Day, Autism acceptance and awareness, St. Patrick's Day, Lupus, the first day of Spring, Christmas, child abuse awareness, and Easter – to name a few.