After the abrupt change to flashing lights, the rainbow show of Satisfaction Month on Florida Bridge is again on
In some context, the Acosta Bridge was recently lit in honor of holidays such as Memorial Day and changed in the past to reflect July 4th. It was also lit to celebrate non-federal holidays, such as breast cancer awareness, lupus awareness, and the Jacksonville Jaguars soccer team. According to Queerty, the transportation department can generally decline color schemes if they believe they are not in the public's best interest or offensive.
Speaking to local broadcaster WJAX-TV, Stephen Gaskill, President of the LGBTQ + Democratic Caucus in Florida, described the situation as "kind of appalling" as it has "gone from being a celebration to a controversy". Gaskill stressed that LGBTQ people are still "fighting for equality in Florida and even across the country."
In a statement to The Hill, the FDOT stated that while the Rainbow Scheme was "not submitted / approved" under the Bridge Lights Directive, the department approved its use "because it is obviously of broad community interest. ”In short: the rainbow lights are on – at least on this one bridge.
Here's a tweet from the JTA showing the original Pride display.
That this should happen in Florida feels like a sticking point, especially when compared to recent actions by the state's Republican governor. As reported by Daily Kos, Governor Ron DeSantis recently vetoed $ 150,000 in funds that would have been used to provide psychological support to survivors of the Pulse nightclub massacre and to provide shelter for homeless youth in the state. DeSantis also recently signed a law against trans sports banning trans girls from participating in girls' sports teams.
However, this isn't the only example of a rainbow display causing problems in Florida. Just last week, for example, the FDOT turned down a request from the City of Sarasota to illuminate the John Ringling Causeway Bridge with rainbow lights. The FDOT also denied a request to use rainbow lights on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. As the local edition News4Jax reported, the Pride Month color scheme was the first time the FDOT notified the JTA that the bridge colors were out of specification.
However, Taryn Fenske, a DeSantis spokeswoman, tweeted that the governor's office was not involved in the decision to remove the original rainbow lights ad.
I want to be very clear that we / our office was not involved.
– Taryn Fenske (@tarynfenske) June 9, 2021
Speaking to NBC, Fenske said it was "absurd" to believe the governor was involved in the decision, adding, "The (Acosta) bridge lights will be back on for the rest of the week." Speaking to the Washington Post, Beth Frady, a spokeswoman for the FDOT, stated that the call to turn off the rainbow display was made locally.
Democratic MP Carlos G. Smith tweeted about the situation, wondering whether LGBTQ Floridians should give DeSantis the "benefit of the doubt" or base their actions on his actions.
When it comes to all elected officials, including Republicans, we know by now that actions speak a lot more than words.