Flags to fly at half mast for funeral of homophobe Rush Limbaugh, Republican governor confirms
Florida’s state flags will be flown at half mast for the funeral of Rush Limbaugh, a flaming homophobe who died last week aged 70.
Republican governor Ron DeSantis sparked fury when he announced the decision on Friday (19 February), calling the late radio host “an absolute legend” and “a great person”.
The order will apply to flags flown over the State Capitol as well as all county courthouses, city halls and other state facilities throughout Florida.
He claimed the custom is “what we do when there’s things of this magnitude”, yet it appears there is little precedent for honouring a civilian in this way.
According to Florida’s state flag protocol, flags are only flown at half-mast”in the event of the death of a present or former official of the Florida State government or the death of a member of the armed forces from Florida who dies while serving on active duty”.
DeSantis has previously ordered flags to be at half-mast for police officers killed on duty, members of the US navy killed in a mass shooting and the supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, among others.
The unusual decision to do so for Limbaugh was immediately met with opposition, given his reputation as deeply divisive and obsessively homophobic figure.
Florida Senate Democratic leader Gary Farmer issued a statement condemning DeSantis’ flag order as “a partisan political tool to salute a man who served no other interests than his own and did his best to deeply divide a country along political fault lines”.
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“Any move to lower our flag in deference to a man who helped drive the hatred and inflame the prejudices against marginalised groups, people of colour, women and anyone who did not look like him or think like him is wrong and should be rescinded,” he said.
“This is not who we are. This is not who we want to be.”
While’s Limbaugh’s life is widely celebrated by conservatives, few LGBT+ Americans will mourn a man whose career seemed defined by homophobic hatred.
Among his cruellest acts was a dedicated radio segment which mocked and celebrated AIDS deaths by announcing each one to a soundtrack of disco music.
Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz added to the criticism by calling the governor’s decision “an embarrassment to Florida”.
“Rush Limbaugh weaponised his platform to spread racism, xenophobia and homophobia across the nation,” she said in a tweet. “His constant hateful rhetoric caused untold damage to our political landscape.”