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Florida won't light bridges in rainbow colors for Pride Month this year

Bridges Florida No Pride Lights
Photos by FJR/Shutterstock

Florida Transportation Secretary James Perdue announced on social media that as part of the state’s “Freedom Summer,” all bridges will be lit in patriotic colors from May 27 to September 2, which means no rainbows for Pride.

Florida’s major bridges won’t be lit up for Pride Month this year. Instead, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants the Sunshine Skyway lit up in red, white and blue.

Florida Transportation Secretary James Perdue recently announced on social media that as part of the state’s “Freedom Summer,” all bridges will be lit in patriotic colors from May 27 to Sept. 2.

“As Floridians prepare for Freedom Summer, Florida's bridges will follow suit, illuminating in red, white, and blue from Memorial Day through Labor Day!” he wrote. “Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida continues to be the freest state in the nation.”

The decision was announced as the DeSantis administration also touted a sales tax holiday and free access to state parks on Memorial Day weekend. So despite the governor’s abysmal record on LGBTQ+ rights, the decision didn’t seem to outwardly be motivated by a chance to pre-empt Pride.

But it did come after some Republican officials in the state objected to decisions in recent years to light up state bridges for certain causes. Manatee County Commissioner Mike Rahn, for example, emails the state Transportation Department objecting to lighting the Sunshine Skyway in St. Petersburg in rainbow colors for Pride Month and in orange for Gun Violence Awareness Day, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The state decision impacts all state-owned bridges in Florida, stopping some cities with progressive leadership and communities from a years-long tradition of lighting the bridges on Pride month.

“We don’t want us or our legislatures to have to look back at the end of their lives and say oh boy I blew it on that. It’s a symbol. It would not have hurt anybody to continue doing pride colors, GVP colors, and so on,” Carol Rescigno, the President of Brady Sarasota, told Sarasota’s ABC affiliate. Sarasota for years has colored the John Ringling Bridge in rainbow for June.

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