After controversial removal, rainbow Pride lights will be back on tonight in Florida

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The colors of the Pride flag will shine from Acosta Bridge in Jacksonville tonight, according to the governor's office, after the Florida Department of Transportation unceremoniously ordered the removal of the rainbow lighting from the bridge yesterday.

"The bottom line is, lights will be back up tonight," said Taryn Fenske, spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis' office.

She says she does not know who actually turned the lights off or what happened behind-the-scenes with the last-minute cancellation of the lights.

A close-up of Monday's rainbow lighting on the Jacksonville Transportation Authority's Acosta Bridge to honor Pride Month.
A close-up of Monday's rainbow lighting on the Jacksonville Transportation Authority's Acosta Bridge to honor Pride Month.

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Pride Month 2021: We need to celebrate LGBTQ joy this Pride Month. Lives depend on it.

By late Tuesday, the bridge was lit up in blue instead of the scheduled multi-colored display. The Pride lights were intended to glow all week in honor of Pride Month, which remembers the June 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York City when patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn tavern staged an uprising to resist police harassment and persecution of gays.

Acosta Bridge, with blue lights, in Downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on Tuesday , June 8, 2021.
Acosta Bridge, with blue lights, in Downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on Tuesday , June 8, 2021.

Fenske told the Times-Union, which like USA Today is a part of the USA TODAY Network, the "discussion" around the lights happened "at a local level" but that FDOT plans to review its own permitting process.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority declined to comment further beyond yesterday's statement: "This afternoon the FDOT informed the JTA that our scheduled color scheme for the Acosta Bridge is out of compliance with our existing permit. The JTA will comply accordingly."

Last week, the state DOT denied a request to light Sarasota’s John Ringling Causeway Bridge with rainbow lights to celebrate Pride Month, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, also a part of the USA TODAY Network.

Follow Katherine Lewin on Twitter: @katherinemlewin.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Pride lights on Florida bridge will be back on amid controversy