Gov. Tony Evers raised the Progress Pride flag over the Wisconsin State Capitol for the fifth annual Pride month celebration today. This follows his signing of Executive Order #204, which orders the Progress Pride flag to be flown during June in celebration of Pride month.
The rainbow flag was first raised over the Capitol in 2019. This year, Evers raised the Progress flag for the first time to recognize the importance of diversity, inclusion and intersectionality, according to a press release.
Evers was joined at the celebration by administration leaders, community members and advocates.
“Flying the Progress Pride flag above our state Capitol sends an important signal about who Gov. Evers is, what this administration's values are and who we want to be as a state,” state Sen. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) stated. “We are so grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate with all of you who have come out to join us today.”
Spreitzer continued by supporting Evers as an ally to LGBTQ+ people. He also mentioned upcoming legislation from the Wisconsin LGBTQ+ Caucus that would propose repealing Wisconsin’s unenforceable constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, updating state statutes to use gender-neutral language, banning conversion therapy and prohibiting discrimination based on a person's gender identity or gender expression.
Secretary-designee for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs James Bond — Wisconsin’s first openly gay cabinet secretary — also showed his support for Evers and the LGBTQ+ community.
“Thanks to leaders like Gov. Tony Evers and all of the people who made this day possible, we raise this flag as a beacon, a reminder to all [that] you are welcome here at the Wisconsin State Capitol,” Bond said.
Evers concluded the celebration by recognizing attendees, advocates, organizations and LGBTQ+ members of Wisconsin's Congressional delegation — specifically U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison).
“As we kick off Pride month in Wisconsin, we celebrate LGBTQ+ people in Wisconsin, [the] LGBTQ+ community more broadly and the LGBTQ+ contributions to the culture which are a vibrant, critical part of our state and our country,” Evers said.
Evers also noted challenges LGBTQ+ people continue to face and how community members are welcome in Wisconsin.
“Raising the pride flag today sends a message to all those who have only ever wanted to belong, who had to find their own family, who have never known home. You belong here,” Evers said, fighting back tears. “You are family here, you are welcome here.”
The Progress Pride flag was raised above the Capitol’s east wing. The flag will remain with the American flag and the Wisconsin state flag through June.
Ellie Bourdo is the features editor for The Daily Cardinal. Ellie previously served as associate news editor, where she specialized in breaking news and University of Wisconsin-System news reporting. She also works at WisPolitics. Follow Ellie on Twitter at @elliebourdo.