Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Friday marks the start of the annual Twin Cities Pride Celebration. Minneapolis and St. Paul host one of the largest Pride weekends in the nation, bringing in nearly a half million people from around the country.
Many this year feel that they really have something to celebrate at this year’s Pride festivities. Minnesota became the 12th state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage last month. And just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision that ruled unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented legally married gay couples from receiving federal benefits.
But one place that you will not see the rainbow colors that are synonymous with Pride — the Lowry Avenue Bridge.
The bridge remained its standard blue color on Friday, but some residents have pointed out that the city has illuminated the bridge during various celebrations. It was purple and gold for the Vikings, and red, white and blue for Veterans Day.
There is currently no policy for deciding when to light the overpass. Earlier this week, there was a resolution calling for recognition of Pride weekend, which included the illumination of the Lowry bridge.
That resolution passed overwhelmingly, but the part to light the bridge in rainbow colors was taken out.
“We’ve passed resolutions celebrating all sorts of things. That’s what this resolution was about. And it would have coordinated with lighting of bridge,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin. “And if we’re lighting it for Vikings, it seems to me we should light it for Pride Festival.”
A policy for deciding when to light the bridge is in the works. The county commissioner said until that’s in place, it would be unwise for the bridge to be used to advocate for one issue or another. This bridge is meant to connect a city, the commissioner said, not create hard feelings.
The county is taking this policy very seriously. When the Fourth of July happens next week, the bridge still won’t be lit up in red, white and blue.
The plans do still call for the Interstate 35W bridge across the Mississippi River to be lit in the colors of the rainbow, as it has been in the past for Pride.