The Florida Senate Seal was altered, stripping away the Confederate Flag from the emblem. The action, which was taken without a formal vote from the governing body, took place on Monday.
The Confederate battle flag was pictured alongside other flags on the Florida Senate Seal. A group of state senators gathered for a special redistricting session and agreed to remove the stars and bars after “some hesitation,” WPTV reports.
The change to the official state senate seal was approved without a single objection. The lack of a dissenting voice meant that the need for a formal vote to be taken by the entire governing body had been avoided.
The Florida State Senate Seal will include other non-American flags which have flown over the state. One such flag is a 1513 Spanish banner, a 1564 French flag, and the Great Britain flag of 1763. The American Flag will also remain on the seal. The current Florida state flag will now fill the space the Confederate Flag once held, WTSP 10 News reports.
Confederate battle flag will be removed from Florida Senate seal https://t.co/tMt7wv7Wwl pic.twitter.com/2ZwUJa7DqV
— SPLC (@splcenter) October 19, 2015
In June, Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner, a Republican, and Democratic State Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner requested that the Senate Rules Committee consider changing the body’s official seal due to the backlash against the Confederate battle flag after the Charleston, South Carolina shooting.
Many states and municipalities removed the Confederate Flag from its public grounds and banners during the summer months. Major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart also stopped selling clothing and other items featuring the popular symbol. Stores, flea markets, gun shows, and GI depots where the stars and bars are still sold often have a “Sold Out, More Coming Soon” sign hanging where items featuring the Civil War era symbol were once placed.
“I’m glad that we are taking it down and recognizing the Confederate flag for what it is,” Senator Oscar Braynon, a black Democrat from Miami Gardens, said. “What it is, is a symbol of a time when this country went to war to keep my ancestors in slavery.”
Senate Rules Committee Chairman David Simmons, a Republican from Altamonte Springs, defended the proposal on the floor of the Senate. Senator Simmons cited U.S. Supreme Court rulings which rejected the legality of the move by 11 Southern states to secede from the Union during the Civil War.
The Florida Senate seal includes 5 historic flags that flew over the state at some point. One is coming down. https://t.co/S3jdEcW1dr
— Independent Journal (@IJREVIEW) October 20, 2015
“The flags on the current seal appear to presume to represent sovereign nations. However, our research established that the Confederacy was never legally a sovereign nation,” Senator Simmons added.
Although no Florida senators objected publicly to the removal of the Confederate Flag from the seal, some have now said that they were unaware the matter was going to be discussed.
Florida State Senator Rob Bradley, a Republican from Fleming Island, said he wasn’t aware that the chamber was going to make a motion to remove the battle flag during the special redistricting session. He also stated that perhaps the state senate should look at new options for the seal and completely overhaul the emblem.
“If you look at all the flags on the seal, I think you would find that there were things that occurred in the name of some of those flags that history has now looked upon as being abhorrent and terrible,” Senator Bradley added.
What do you think about the Florida Senate Seal change and the removal of the Confederate Flag from the traditional emblem without a formal vote?
[Image via Nagel Photography/Shutterstock.com]