(The Center Square) – The Pride flag is now flying over the Washington State Capitol campus in Olympia.
Several members of the LGBTQ community – as well as Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, and state Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu – joined Gov. Jay Inslee Thursday for a noon ceremony raising the Pride flag.
June is Pride Month, dedicated to celebrating and working to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for the LGBTQ community. The rainbow flag associated with Pride Month is a symbol of the community and its goals.
“First, I want to say this flag belongs to everyone in the state of Washington, including those who are not specifically part of the LGBTQ community,” Inslee said. “And I’ll tell you why I believe that. I believe our state is the most beautiful state in the United States, perhaps in the solar system. And it becomes more beautiful every time it becomes more just.”
The governor referenced the curved shape of a rainbow in tying that fact to a well-known quote by America’s most famous civil rights icon.
“When I think of this, I think of what Martin Luther King said, which is the arc of the moral universe is long but it points toward justice,” Inslee said. “And I look at the rainbow as an arc. And this has been a long struggle for justice.”
The governor gave kudos to lawmakers for passing several laws this session that impacts the LGBTQ community.
“And congratulations to Washington state and the Legislature who this year passed more bills protecting the freedom of people in this community in the history of the state of Washington,” Inslee said.
Among the bills passed and signed into law by the governor was Senate Bill 5599, allowing children to stay at licensed youth shelters without their parents’ knowledge while seeking gender-affirming and reproductive care.
Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1155, prohibiting websites and apps from collecting consumer health data without user consent and preventing the sale of such data, was also signed into law by the governor.
Inslee also signed into law Senate Substitute Bill 5114 to help survivors of sex trafficking get access to housing, health services, and more in Washington.
According to the independent, nonprofit think tank Movement Advancement Project, LGBTQ people make up more than 5% of Washington’s population and 6% of the state’s workforce.