Rainbow Lights To Jacksonville Bridge For Gay Pride, Gov. DeSantis Denies Removing Them
The rainbow lights over the Acosta Bridge in Jacksonville, Florida, will return after the Florida Department of Transportation ruled them “out of compliance.” The Jacksonville Transportation Authority, or JTA, was supposed to light the bridge with the rainbow color scheme from Tuesday through Sunday in celebration of pride month. However, when the time came, the 1,645-foot bridge was lit in blue tones instead.
David Cawton, a spokesman for the JTA, explained the reasoning behind the move. “The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) informed the JTA that our scheduled color scheme for the Acosta Bridge is out of compliance with our existing permit,” Cawton said. “The JTA will comply accordingly.”
The cancelation of the rainbow display comes soon after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a transgender girls sports ban on the first day of Pride Month. Many thought the Republican governor was targeting the LGBT community. A spokeswoman for FDOT, Beth Frady, denied the charge, claiming that the decision to use blue lights was made at the local level, not by the governor’s office. She stated that she was unsure why the state’s department of transportation told the JTA not to use rainbow colors, but that they would come back on.
Frady told The Washington Post, “While the schematic yesterday was not previously submitted/approved, in accordance with the bridge lighting policy, the department has since authorized its use as it is obviously a matter of broad community interest.”
DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske also denied any involvement by the governor’s office and responded to a tweet that alleged intervention.
I want to be very clear that we/our office had no involvement.
— Taryn Fenske (@tarynfenske) June 9, 2021
Nate Monroe, a Florida Times-Union metro columnist tweeted, “There’s almost no way this didn’t come from the governor’s office. JTA has lit the bridge up with all sorts of colors on all sorts of occasions, with no pushback, until now.”