DeSantis orders flags at half-staff to honor Pulse nightclub victims

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis condemned the 'horrific act of terrorism against the LGBTQ and Hispanic communities'

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered flags at local and state buildings be flown at half-mast in remembrance of the sixth anniversary of the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. 

"Six years ago, on June 12, 2016, a shooter claiming allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant committed a horrific act of terrorism against the LGBTQ and Hispanic communities at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando," DeSantis wrote. "At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history." 

"As a mark of respect for the victims, their families, and the many affected by this tragedy, I signed the attached Proclamation directing the flags of the United States and the State of Florida to be flown at half-staff at all local and state buildings, installations, and grounds throughout the State of Florida," he said. 

The shooting left 49 people dead and another 53 wounded. The Republican governor named June 12 as "Pulse Remembrance Day" last year. 

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Flowers adorn posters and images of those who perished at the Pulse nightclub memorial location on June12, 2021, in Orlando, Florida. 

Flowers adorn posters and images of those who perished at the Pulse nightclub memorial location on June12, 2021, in Orlando, Florida.  ((Photo by George Wilson Foto 2021/DeFodi images via Getty Images))

DeSantis has faced staunch criticism from the LGBTQ community over his support for legislation branded by critics as the "Don’t Say Gay" bill. 

The parental rights in education law bans classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity for students in grade three and younger and enables parents to sue school districts over the issue. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference held at the Cox Science Center & Aquarium on June 08, 2022, in West Palm Beach, Florida. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference held at the Cox Science Center & Aquarium on June 08, 2022, in West Palm Beach, Florida.  ( (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images))

In response to the legislation, Disney suspended the company’s political contributions in Florida, and in turn, DeSantis led the state legislature in dissolving Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District that allowed the theme park to govern itself.  

Johanna Parker of Orlando leaves a bouquet of fresh flowers at the Pulse nightclub memorial on June12, 2021, in Orlando, Florida. 

Johanna Parker of Orlando leaves a bouquet of fresh flowers at the Pulse nightclub memorial on June12, 2021, in Orlando, Florida.  ((Photo by George Wilson Foto 2021/DeFodi images via Getty Images))

The Orlando Sun Sentinel reported that DeSantis signed a bill last year barring transgender athletes from competing in women's and girls’ sports and has been attempting to prevent Medicaid coverage for hormone therapy and puberty-blocking medication. 

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Brandon Wolf, a Pulse survivor with Equality Florida, a statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, recently ripped DeSantis in an op-ed, claiming the governor "has declared war on Florida’s LGBTQ community."