New legislation offered by a Republican lawmaker in Florida could bar local governments and their offices from flying LGBTQ Pride Flags.
House Bill 901, authored by far right Rep. David Borrero (R), does not directly state that it is targeting Pride Flags in particular, but critics have pointed out that Borrero and other GOP lawmakers attempted to pass similar legislation earlier this year, and that his public statements strongly suggest that LGBTQ flags are the likely targets of the bill.
The legislation’s text bars any flag from flying at any government building, aside from the U.S. and state of Florida flags, if it represents “a political viewpoint, including, but not limited to, a politically partisan, racial, sexual orientation and gender, or political ideology viewpoint.”
“The government agency must remain neutral when representing political viewpoints in displaying or erecting a flag,” the bill states.
Of course, what is deemed “political” is in the eye of the beholder — or in this case, the state legislature. If this legislation became law, conservatives could maintain, for example, that certain flags (including those that have become symbols of oppression, like the “thin blue line” pro-police flag) aren’t political statements while simultaneously barring LGBTQ Pride Flags that represent a community’s commitment to respecting and protecting LGBTQ rights. Indeed, a different version of a bill that was produced by another Florida Republican earlier this year had similar language to Borrero’s, but would have allowed the oppressive Confederate Battle Flag symbol to fly.
On X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Borrero has shared posts that deride Pride Flags as “alphabet cult” symbols. He has also shared a post that wrongly described life-saving gender-affirming treatment for children — which rarely, if ever, results in surgery for minors — as “sexual mutilation.”
The Pride Flag that flies above some communities’ government buildings “tells me it’s a safe space,” Wilton Manors City Commissioner Chris Caputo said in March, when Borrero offered his first version of his anti-flag bill. “It tells me that I’m welcome here and people like me are welcome here.”
Activists are speaking out against Borrero’s current version of the bill.
“I think that our local city government should be able to fly culturally significant flags based on the residents they represent,” Compass LGBTQ Community Center CEO Julie Seaver said in an interview with an NBC affiliate station in Lake Worth, Florida, this week.
Seaver said that she was steadfastly opposed to House Bill 901, and that communities should be able to express their viewpoints if they wanted to, despite the state legislature’s objections to them.
“I prefer to live in a city that celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion across all populations,” she added.
It takes longer to read this sentence than it does to support our work.
We have 2 days to raise the $30,000 needed to meet Truthout‘s basic publishing costs this month. Will you take a few seconds to donate and give us a much-needed boost?
We know you are deeply committed to the issues that matter, and you count on us to bring you trustworthy reporting and comprehensive analysis on the real issues facing our country and the world. And as a nonprofit newsroom supported by reader donations, we’re counting on you too. If you believe in the importance of an independent, free media, please make a tax-deductible donation today!