Hillsborough commissioners voted 5 to 1 to raise the LGBT flag in front of the County Center to honor the victims of Orlando’s mass shooting.

  • Decision comes 11 years after county voted to ban gay pride events
  • Flag will fly at the County Center until end of June

Commissioner Ken Hagan was the only commissioner to vote against it.

“I never thought I’d see my flag at a county building like this, especially in the state of Florida,” said Diane O’Dell, who donated the flag to the county.

The decision to raise the rainbow flag comes exactly 11 years after the county voted to ban gay pride events. Commissioner Kevin Beckner said they’ve come a long way since then, and this moment proves it.

“This is really about a community coming together, expressing solidarity, expressing support, expressing the love for all of the first responders, the victims, the families and all of the LGBT community,” Beckner said.

But not everyone believes the flag belongs at the Hillsborough County Center.

“You want to honor the people who died, yes, but not just because they’re gays,” said Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold of Calvary Community Church. “That flag is their symbol, and therefore I think its dishonoring to our city and therefore it shouldn't be here.”

The flag will fly at the County Center until the end of June.

Commissioner Beckner also plans to send a letter to Florida’s governor to request the gay pride flag be raised at the Florida State House, as well.