x

Society

Florida Reverses Itself, Will Allow Rainbow Bridge Lighting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida reversed itself Wednesday and said a downtown Jacksonville bridge can be decorated in rainbow lights to celebrate gay rights, one day after it had ordered them doused. 

Taryn Fenske, a spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis,  told The Florida Times-Union that she didn't know why the Florida Department of Transportation had ordered the state-owned Acosta Bridge returned to its normal blue lighting Tuesday night, but said the rainbow colors will be back Wednesday night. 

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority had planned to use rainbow lighting on the Acosta throughout the week in honor of Pride Month, which commemorates the struggle for gay rights. The state has allowed numerous celebratory lighting displays on the bridge to honor patriotic holidays, celebrate the Jacksonville Jaguars football team and raise disease awareness. 

It had been the second time this month the state rejected a rainbow lighting display for a bridge.

"The bottom line is, (the rainbow) lights will be back" on the Acosta, Fenske told the paper. 

The state transportation department said on Tuesday that its original decision to shut off the rainbow lights was not motivated by anti-gay animus but because the display violated regulations. It said the Jacksonville authority's permit for lighting the Acosta requires it to maintain a certain color scheme unless it receives state permission for a temporary change. 

DeSantis, a Republican, was criticized last week when, on the first day of Pride Month, he signed a law banning transgender athletes from participating in school sports. 

The state had earlier rejected  Sarasota's request to light its John Ringling Causeway Bridge with rainbow lights this month despite also permitting other displays there. The governor's office did not immediately respond to a Wednesday email from The Associated Press asking whether that display will also now be allowed. 

According to the state's bridge lighting policy, the transportation department can reject any temporary color scheme it deems offensive or not in the public's best interest. It also says special lighting displays should be limited to federal or state holidays or celebrations and "events of broad community interest and significance approved by local governments." Fenske said those policies will be reviewed. 

The Times-Union reports  that the Acosta is frequently lit in different color schemes. Last month, it was lit in teal to honor the Jaguars for drafting star quarterback Trevor Lawrence; green for mental health month; blue and green to raise awareness of neurofibromatoses, a neurological disorder that causes tumors; light blue for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the fatal condition commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease; purple for lupus awareness; and red, white and blue for Memorial Day. 

RELATED

CHICAGO (AP) — Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked roadways in Illinois, California, New York and the Pacific Northwest on Monday, temporarily shutting down travel into some of the nation's most heavily used airports, onto the Golden Gate and Brooklyn bridges and on a busy West Coast highway.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

New York Greek Independence Parade Honors 1821 and Grim Anniversary for Cyprus (Vid & Pics)

NEW YORK – The New York Greek Independence Parade on Fifth Avenue, commemorating the 203rd anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821, was held in an atmosphere of emotion and pride on April 14.

CHICAGO – The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) presents the Trial of Pericles on Wednesday, April 17, 7 PM, at the Harris Theater, 205 East Randolph Street in Chicago.

NICOSIA - Cyprus - home to United Kingdom military bases where fighter jets were used to help defend Israel from an Iranian attack using missiles and drones - has stepped up security on the island amid fears the Middle East conflict could worsen.

A plot of land for sale in Tripoli, Arkadia Prefecture, 268.

ATHENS - Expecting another record year in tourism to surpass the numbers in 2023 in arrivals and revenues, Greece’s infrastructure - particularly on overwhelmed islands - isn’t adequate to deal with the demands even as more resorts keep opening.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.