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JACKSONVILLE (CBSMiami/AP) — Florida leaders have reversed their decision and said a downtown Jacksonville bridge can be decorated in rainbow lights to celebrate gay rights, one day after it had ordered them to be removed.

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.

  The rainbow colors reappeared on Wednesday night.

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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.

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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 an 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.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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New York City renaming 16 parks in honor of Black American experience

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Officials are announcing the renaming of 16 parks across the city in honor of the Black American experience in NYC.

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver will join New York State Sen. Jose Serrano, New York State Assembly Member Amanda Septimo, New York City Council Member Vanessa Gibson and former City Council Member and daughter of the late Rev. Wendell Foster, Helen Dianne Foster, are making the announcement on Wednesday.

The newly named spaces represent educators, Civil Rights leaders, pioneers in the LGBTQ+ community, entertainers, novelists, playwrights, abolitionists and more.

There was a movement last summer to rename the 15-acre Mullaly Park in the Highbridge section of the Bronx. The park was named after a man who is credited as the Father of Bronx Parks, but is also notorious for his racist views.

To honor a commitment made in November to rename Mullaly Park and Recreation Center, the event is being held at the park to showcase its planned new name.

Last June, the agency pledged to continue to demonstrate how it stands in solidarity with the Black community in its fight to combat systemic racism.

Since then, NYC Parks has named 28 parks spaces in honor of the Black experience.

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