Wisconsin Public Radio

LGBTQ Flag Flies Over State Capitol

First time in history. Gov. Evers orders the raising of the Rainbow Pride Flag to celebrate Pride Month.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Jun 8th, 2019 11:43 am
Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order to fly a rainbow flag over the state Capitol for the remainder of June 2019 in recognition of "Pride Month." Photo by Laurel White/WPR.

Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order to fly a rainbow flag over the state Capitol for the remainder of June 2019 in recognition of “Pride Month.” Photo by Laurel White/WPR.

The LGBTQ flag was raised over the state Capitol building Friday for the first time in Wisconsin’s history.

The flag will fly for the entirety of June, which is LGBTQ Pride Month.

A small crowd gathered outside the Capitol to watch the flag raising, including Clay Thomas of Madison.

“It just kind of means that we are finally represented by our government, they see us,” Thomas said. “We ride on the shoulders of giants here, with how the gay rights movement has progressed over the years. I think it would be really meaningful to the people who have given so much.”

Deb Dawson, also of Madison, said it was a very personal moment for her as the mother of a gay man.

“It’s just acceptance and inclusion, diversity,” Dawson said. “We need that in our city.”

Colleen McGuigan of Milwaukee agreed, saying “this means acceptance, this means respect.”

She called it “an oasis in what feels like a sea of craziness in the United States.”

Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order Friday calling for the flag’s display.

“Publicly displaying the Rainbow Pride Flag has become an important visual symbol of support for the LGBTQ community,” the order read. “The people of Wisconsin have made critical steps toward LGBTQ equity, but we recognize that there is more work to do to ensure that every person in our state is treated with respect and experiences full equality in their lives.”

The proclamation spurred public criticism on Friday from two Republican state lawmakers.

“Is this any more appropriate than erecting the Christian flag over the Capitol?,” state Rep. Scott Allen, R-Waukesha, tweeted.

State Sen. David Craig, R-Big Bend, also tweeted his concerns.

“The U.S. and Wisconsin flags are flown over us as unifying symbols for all Wisconsinites. The governor’s action today is in no doubt a statement to advance a cause. The only cause that the Capitol flags should represent is 50 states united in one republic,” Craig said.

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community celebrate June as Pride Month, in part to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. The riots were a clash between gay rights activists and police at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, that spurred nationwide advocacy.

The clash and resulting social movement are considered a watershed moment in LGBTQ history.

Listen to the WPR report here.

LGBTQ Flag Flying Over Wisconsin State Capitol For First Time In History was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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