Wisconsin's government has hoisted the LGBTQ pride flag over the State Capitol Building for the first time ever, CNN reports. The move coincides with a similar one made by the state of New York the same week.
On Friday, Governor Tony Evers created an executive order that directs the pride flag to be flown over the State Capitol Building for the remainder of June, which is known as Pride Month in recognition of LGBTQ equity and civil rights. The order also allows any other state building in Wisconsin to do the same.
Evers, a Democrat, narrowly defeated Scott Walker, a Republican, to take the governor's seat in 2018. He ended up squeaking by with a win with just 49.6% of the vote.
"Publicly displaying the Rainbow Pride Flag sends a clear and unequivocal message that Wisconsin is a welcoming and inclusive place where everyone can live without fear of persecution, judgment, or discrimination," the order reads, in part.
Democrat Mark Spreitzer, a gay state representative, posted on Twitter in support of the order.
"With a historic number of out LGBT legislators and our biggest, most bipartisan Equality Agenda this session, it's only fitting that the pride flag should fly over the Capitol this month. Happy Pride!" he said.
The move was not without controversy, however, with detractors coming out in opposition to the use of the flag, particularly on social media.
State Representative Scott Allen, a Republican, called out the order in a Twitter post.
"Is this any more appropriate than erecting the Christian flag over the Capitol?" he asked on Twitter, punctuating the question with "#religious."
Allen, who in his bio describes himself as a "Child of God/Family Man," has not yet returned requests for comment, though he said that he believes the rainbow flag "advocates a behavior or lifestyle that some Wisconsin residents may not condone," as the Wisconsin State Journal reports.Typically, the Wisconsin capitol features the American flag, the flag for the state of Wisconsin, and the black-and-white flag, which recognizes soldiers who have been prisoners of war or missing in action.
In a prepared statement, Julaine Appling, who is president of Wisconsin Family Action, called the rainbow flag "a flagrant abuse of gubernatorial power" and compared it to flying a Christian or Nazi flag over the Capitol.
The order is "proclaiming one group of Wisconsin citizens as preferred over others," she said.
Appling also pointed out that Wisconsin approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman via referendum, with 59.4 percent of voters in support.