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Man with gun at Pride Flag who voluntarily raised to the left

MADISON – A man carrying a long gun and wearing a shirt that read “Feminism is cancer” voluntarily left the Capitol grounds Friday during a ceremony during which a Pride Flag was raised over the building, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Administration said .

“The individual was not threatening, and the presence of the weapon alone did not violate the law. State Capitol Police and City of Madison Police contacted the individual and he voluntarily left the area without incident,” said DOA spokeswoman Tatyana Warrick in an email. .

A Wisconsin State Journal reporter first reported the man’s presence on the social media platform X.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Tony Evers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

People who are legally permitted to possess firearms are generally allowed to carry them openly in most public spaces in Wisconsin. Open carry is not permitted in the Capitol. Concealed carry policies vary within the building.

The raising of the flag on Friday marked the continuation of a tradition started by the Evers board. This is the sixth year that the Pride Flag has flown over the Capitol.

Evers first commissioned the rainbow Pride Flag to fly over the east wing of the building in 2019. At the time, he said flying the pride flag “sends a clear and unequivocal message that Wisconsin is a welcoming and inclusive place where everyone can live without fear of fear.” persecution, judgment or discrimination.”

“While today and this month is a celebration of the LGBTQ community, it is also a time to recognize the work ahead,” Evers said at Friday’s ceremony, referring to bills introduced by Republican lawmakers that would support LGBTQ advocates described as harmful. .

In December and April, Evers vetoed bills that would ban gender-affirming medical care for people under the age of 18 and ban transgender and gender-nonconforming youth from participating on school athletic teams that align with their gender identity.

“You’re damn right I vetoed all those bills, as I always will,” Evers said.

Republicans have criticized the tradition in recent years. Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, GOP gubernatorial candidate and former lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch called rainbow flags “political props” when they flew over the Capitol, and her primary opponent Kevin Nicholson said he wouldn’t fly one if elected become.

LGBTQ Pride Month is celebrated every June in Wisconsin and across the United States to recognize the struggles of gay individuals and to honor the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, which is seen as a pivotal event in the gay rights movement. Wisconsin became the first state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1982.

Evers started flying the Progress Pride Flag instead of the Rainbow in 2022. In addition to the traditional six-stripe rainbow design, the Progress flag adds a chevron variant with black, brown, light blue, pink and white stripes, referencing the trans communities, communities of color and individuals in the community living with or lost to the HIV/AIDS crisis.

The flag will fly above the east wing of the Capitol throughout the month of June, alongside the American flag and the state flag of Wisconsin. The POW-MIA flag will continue to fly above the North Wing flagpole.

Other state buildings may fly the Progress Pride flag in June.

Jessie Opoien can be reached at [email protected]

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