Flying a gay pride rainbow flag over the Wisconsin state Capitol for the first time Friday drew backlash from conservative Republican lawmakers who said it was divisive, while Democrats hailed it as a sign of inclusivity.
The flag flap erupted after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers ordered the raising of the flag to recognize June as "Pride Month."
The move drew a fast rebuke from some of the state's conservatives. State Rep. Scott Allen said in a message to The Associated Press that the rainbow flag "advocates a behavior or lifestyle that some Wisconsin residents may not condone. Therefore, it is divisive."
Democrats praised the raising of the flag, including Democratic state Sen. Tim Carpenter, one of five openly gay state lawmakers.
"This is a very welcoming sign to many of us and it signifies a new direction for Wisconsin," Carpenter said in a statement thanking Evers. "We are showing that we are a welcoming and inclusive state and that means a great deal."
Dozens of people stood outside the Capitol's east wing Friday afternoon and cheered as the flag was raised on a pole just below the U.S. and Wisconsin state flag.
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