Three days before the fifth anniversary of the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation defining the gay club’s place as a national memorial.
The chamber adopted its version of the bill on May 12th. The measure now goes to President Joe Biden, who has backed a number of pro-LGBTQ proposals and is expected to sign it into law, although it is unclear when.
Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla., Introduced the bill to the Senate. Scott was governor during the massacre, in which 49 assassins were killed and dozens more wounded before gunman Omar Matin was killed in a shootout with law enforcement after a three-hour siege.
As he introduced the measure on Wednesday, Scott told parents who lost children and attended funerals and awakenings for young victims after the June 12, 2016 attack, “it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” according to Orlando. Sentinel.
“[It was] an evil act of terrorism designed to divide us as a nation and strike fear into our hearts and minds, “Scott said in a statement later. “But instead we came together and supported each other through heartbreak and darkness to preserve and restore.”
While a similar bill passed the House in 2020, it fell to the Senate. Scott’s measure was passed unanimously, enjoying bipartisan support from fellow Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, and California Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat.
In a statement, Rubio said he was “inspired by Orlando’s continued resilience, pride and strength.”
On Twitter, Brandon Wolfe, a survivor of the attack, thanked the Florida delegation for “recognizing our holy land.”
A message from the Pulse nightclub’s Facebook page also expressed gratitude for the passage of the bill.
“The unanimous agreement is so welcome news, as we are set to commemorate the five-year commemoration of the pulse tragedy,” the statement said. “This recognition by both the House and the Senate means so much to the LGBTQ + community. #WeWillNotLetHateWin ”
The vote came a week after Republican Gov. Ron Desantis signed a new state budget that cut funding for the LGBTQ community center in Orlando and an organization that houses homeless LGBTQ youth.
Wolfe, now media relations manager for Equality Florida, said the layoffs mean DeSantis has “declared war” on the state’s gay community.
“Before the commemoration ceremony in 2019, Governor DeSantis stood on lighted ground, on the steps of where I fled the building in 2016, and promised to always support those of us affected by the shooting at the Pulse nightclub. “Wolf said in a statement. “Today, almost two years later, he vetoed mental health services for us. I will never forget.”
Defining Pulse as a memorial does not make it part of the US National Park system or requires federal funding to be used in the creation of any monument.
In 2019, the non-governmental foundation onePulse presented a design for a museum and monument, created by the French architectural firm Coldefy & Associés in collaboration with Orlando-based HHCP Architects.
The monument includes a reflective pool and a garden with 49 trees, announcing the remains of the nightclub, where a temporary memorial currently stands.
Half a mile from here, on West Cayley Street, the museum will rise “like a blooming flower,” the foundation said in a news release, with the rooftop memorial offering views of both the memorial and what is called the South Pulse Quarter. from downtown Orlando.
The first phase of the memorial, “Survivors’ Walk” with interactive sculptures, will stretch half a mile from South Orange Avenue and connect the memorial to the Orlando Regional Medical Center, where many wounded were taken the night of the attack, Sentinel reported.
Originally planned for 2022, completion of the museum and memorial has been postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Sentinel.
In February, singer Ricky Martin signed as national spokesman for the foundation’s efforts to raise $ 49 million for the project.
In addition to the National Pulse Memorial and Museum, the money will be used to promote society, educational programs and to create 49 inheritance scholarships.
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