A small Florida town in Miami-Dade County has defied the wishes of its mayor to celebrate Pride Month and fly the rainbow flag.
Despite the opposition of Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger, the town’s commissioners voted 3-2 to officially recognize June as Pride Month and to hold a ceremony to raise the flag.
He said the message that his town is “a welcoming and safe community for ALL” is “a social agenda.”
“Pride Month is all about acceptance and inclusion,” Surfside Town Manager Hector Gomez told Local 10 news. “This symbol of solidarity for the community demonstrates what a welcoming and diverse place Surfside really is.”
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“It’s amazing,” added one resident. “It’s a big deal after last year that we couldn’t raise the flag, and we are very proud to do it right now.”
Despite protests from residents, town leaders gave in to Danzinger’s opposition in 2022, when he warned that raising the Pride flag would lead to political, religious, and Satanic groups requesting their flags also be flown. The mayor reportedly feared that, since the town did not have an official flag policy, they would end up yielding requests from groups wanting to fly flags bearing black crosses and swastikas.
Gay resident Gerardo Vildostegui told Axios that last year’s decision was the result of “backroom machinations and bogus legal arguments.”
“I’m just happy to see the Town reaffirm the message of tolerance and inclusion that we sent in 2021,” he said. “It’s a rejection of all the hate and the intolerance that have been coming out of Tallahassee lately.”
In 2021, the town raised the Pride flag for the first time in its history, the result of a request by gay then-Vice Mayor Tina Paul.
Danzinger put out a statement in response to the commissioners’ decision to fly the flag this year.
“It’s important to note that we live in a community where over one-third of the population is Jewish, yet the Town has never sponsored an Israeli Day Parade or a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony,” Danzinger said. “Additionally, over two-thirds of our population is Hispanic, yet we have never had a Hispanic Day Parade. The list goes on.”
Danzinger did not attend the flag-raising ceremony, allegedly because he was out of town.