Gulfport raises the LGBTQ Pride flag; a Florida bill that died this year would have outlawed that

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LGBTQ pride
Gulfport Pride 2024. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News.

Several Tampa Bay area cities have raised the LGBTQ Pride flags over city buildings this month.

But that would have been illegal if a bill that died in this year’s Florida Legislature had instead become law.

On Saturday morning the city of Gulfport in south Pinellas County raised the Pride flag over its public library. It came after a short ceremony of speeches honoring the city’s commitment to equality and before a day-long block party celebration of Pride.

But a bill in the 2024 Florida Legislature would have made it against the law to raise what the bill called political flags at government buildings like this one.

Listen:

Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice, a Democrat, used to be in the Florida Legislature.

“I think there’s two parts of it one. We don’t need Tallahassee legislators trying to diminish and negatively impact our LGBTQ community. That’s first off. Secondly is, I’m a strong believer in local control. And cities and counties and local governments should have the ability to make some of those basic decisions for themselves, without big government from Tallahassee interfering,” Justice said.

Proceeds from Gulfport Pride events go to nonprofits for LGBTQ groups and allies. Gulfport City Council member Paul Ray is also the president of Gulfport Pride, which has grown in recent years.

“People showed up. It was good turnouts. And then we had a march one year in 2019. And we were like, let’s take this further. And that’s what we did.”

The nearby City of St. Petersburg raised its LGBTQ Pride flag over City Hall on Friday. Meanwhile, the City of Clearwater will host Pride events but will not fly the Pride flag at a city building.

This summer, for the first time since 2015, Pinellas County’s transit agency will not wrap a bus in Pride colors. PSTA says it is waiting for new advertising rules to be announced by the Florida Department of Transportation.

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