Gov DeSantis States That Florida “Will Not Tolerate Hatred Towards the LGBTQ Community” on Anniversary of Pulse Shooting

Toby Hazlewood

Reflections on Pulse Remembrance Day

On June 12, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis issued a statement in remembrance of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.

On June 12 2016 a lone shooter committed a horrific act of terrorism against the LGBTQ and Hispanic communities at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. 49 people were left dead from the attack, and another 53 were wounded.

As a mark of respect, the governor ordered that all U.S. and state flags on state buildings and in state grounds should be flown at half mast. On the same date in 2021, the governor declared that June 12 will be known as 'Pulse Remembrance Day'.

"We stand united against terrorism and hatred"

Some critics of the governor have expressed cynicism about the sincerity of his remarks, given the recently-introduced 'Parental Rights in Education' bill (often referred to as the 'Don't Say Gay' bill) that he championed. Nonetheless, in his declaration Gov. DeSantis was keen to point out that such acts of terror and hatred will not be tolerated in Florida, stating:

“The state of Florida will not tolerate hatred towards the LGBTQ and Hispanic community of any kind, and together we stand united against terrorism and hate of any kind.”

The governor continued, referring to the shooting as:

“...one of the darkest moments in our state’s history.”

Words or gestures?

Critics of Governor DeSantis are pointing to the inconsistencies between his words in such statements, and his actions as governor. The 'Don't Say Gay' bill is one such example where his critics feel he has no issue with marginalizing the LGBTQ community.

The bill has also been at the root of contention between Gov. DeSantis and the Disney Corporation, leading to the threatened removal of the special tax status that Disney have previously enjoyed.

Another case occurred in March, when Gov. DeSantis proclaimed that a female collegiate swimmer - Emma Weyant, originally from Sarasota - would be recognized as the official champion in an NCAA swimming race after she was beaten by transgender athlete Lia Thomas who had finished first in the race.

A matter of perspective?

A reasonable response to the criticism of Governor DeSantis may be to reflect that there is a significant difference between having endorsed the bills and made the decisions that the governor has made, and standing against acts of terrorism and mass-shootings committed on groups based on their race and sexual orientation.

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Florida flag and pride logoShutterstock

Regardless of political orientation, it seems likely that all Floridians will share the governor's sentiments that such acts are counter to the philosophy and ethos of the state of Florida.

What do you think about the governor making statements in unity with the LGBTQ community given other recent bills that he has approved into Florida law? Let me know in the comments section below.

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