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Senate Panel Votes 11-0 to Remove
Confederate Flag From Official Seal

| October 9, 2015

confederate flag on Florida Senate seal

In for a redesign.

Lawmakers took a step toward removing the Confederate battle flag from the Senate’s official seal Thursday, as a committee unanimously voted to establish a new seal without the Civil War banner.

The Senate Rules Committee’s recommendation, which follows a request by Senate President Andy Gardiner and Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner to re-examine the flag’s place on the seal, is another sign of a backlash against the symbols of the South’s rebellion in the 1860s. The backlash has come after a white supremacist massacred nine black churchgoers in South Carolina this summer.

The new seal is likely to go to the full Senate in January, in the opening days of the annual legislative session. It would take effect if approved by a two-thirds vote of senators.

Under the proposal approved by the committee, the Senate’s official insignia would still include other non-American flags that flew over Florida, including the 1513 Spanish flag, the 1564 French flag and the 1763 flag of Great Britain. The United States flag and the Florida state flag would also appear on the marker.

During a presentation to members of the panel, Rules Chairman David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, highlighted post-Civil War rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that held the decision by 11 Southern states to secede from nation was illegal.

Simmons said the Senate’s seal should include the flags of “those sovereignties that were legitimate sovereignties of this state.”

But it was impossible to escape the shadow that the Confederate flag has long cast over the politics of Florida and other Southern states. For many white Southerners, the battle flag is a commemoration of the military service and sacrifice of ancestors who fought against the Union.

For African-Americans, though, the banner is often a painful reminder of the brutal, slave-driven economy that was a central issue in the 1860 to 1865 war. Increasingly, white politicians have also joined in asking for the flag to be taken down in public spaces and otherwise set aside as a symbol of regional pride.

Joyner, a black Democrat from Tampa, said after the meeting that the effort to remove the flag from the seal is not an effort to wipe out the memory of what happened during the Civil War.

“I can remember it without seeing it on my lapel every day,” she told reporters after the meeting. “I mean, it’s reminiscent of a painful period. It’s time for healing, and I felt it was necessary to remove it.”

Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, had an even blunter way of putting it.

“Well, it is part of history, but the Nazi flag is part of history and shouldn’t be forgotten, but it also shouldn’t be lifted up,” he said.

Sen. Darren Soto, R-Orlando, pointed out several steps the Legislature has taken in recent years to promote racial reconciliation and bridge other gaps.

“It’s time for us to have the seal be consistent with our values,” Soto said. “We can’t revise history and choose which moments in our history to forget. But we can choose what we highlight in our seal that’s just and right.”

But the action is unlikely to halt all discussion of how the state memorializes the Civil War. Joyner voiced hope that lawmakers would also consider legislation (SB 154 and HB 243) seeking to ban government buildings or properties from displaying any flag used by the Confederacy.

The House and Senate could also consider legislation to replace a statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, whose likeness is one of two sculptures that represent the state in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C.

–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida

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25 Responses for “Senate Panel Votes 11-0 to Remove
Confederate Flag From Official Seal”

  1. Joe Randolff says:

    Bad idea. This is part of history, like it or not, you can’t bury history. We can only learn from it.

  2. Knightwatch says:

    Yeaaa! Maybe Floriduh finally gets one right.

  3. m&m says:

    The gutless, spineless politicians are so AFRAID of doing what is right and stop agreeing with these liberals.

  4. Freddy says:

    It is a part of Florida history and should remain. Are we to pretend that the civil war never happened?

  5. Lancer says:

    What’s next? Attempting to erase the fact that Florida did secede from the US and the Civil War was fought.

    Unbelievably stupid.

  6. YankeeExPat says:

    Rebel Pride on Display

    (This one never gets Old)

  7. Linda says:

    I agree with Freddy. Do all the lives that were lost during this period mean nothing?

  8. Politically Incorrect says:

    Sad little minion politicians . What’s next , getting rid of Disney World because Walt Disney did work with Germany’s Von Braun the scientist Nazi that help America built the Saturn 5 rocket that took our astronauts to the moon and back.

  9. Knightwatch says:

    I love hearing conservatives squeal. Music to my liberal ears. There will be more cons… you’re on the wrong side of history and a shrinking part of the future.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I would like to know just where the Hell is the Confederate Flag on the State Seal of Fla.

  11. m&m says:

    We whites have rights to.

  12. Bill says:

    How great would it be if they just replaced the battle flag with the original Flag of the confederacy? As basically NOBODY knows what that is.

  13. Knightwatch says:

    I assume you mean the right to sow hate, fear and discrimination. To openly voice your white bigotry. To exclude non-whites from your neighborhoods and schools. To carry loaded guns into schools, stores, theaters, churches, libraries and restaurants. To hold political power by denying others their right to vote.

    Yeah … white rights, indeed.

  14. Daywatch says:

    I love to hear Liberals squeal. Music to my conservative ears. There will be more libs….you’re on the wrong side of history and a shrinking part of the future.

  15. Layla says:

    Re-elect no one. The PC crowd are running the country and attempting to rewrite history.

    None of these folks deserve to represent the people. They wouldn’t know how. Too busy serving themselves.

  16. Richard S. says:

    Replace the Confederate Flag with the official Seminole Tribe flag. Go to see it at:

    The Seminole Tribe of Florida currently uses this flag, which features the four traditional colors of the Seminole and Miccosukee people. The central seal—with its fire and open, palm-thatched hut, called a chickee—represents the tribal council.

  17. Geezer says:

    Lester Maddox would not have approved.

  18. Andy says:

    That’s an awesome idea, Richard S! I’ve always viewed the Confederacy as an illegal terrorist aberration in the history of the Union, and it gives a nod to the fact that this “white” nation was genocidically taken from the Native Americans

  19. Anonymous says:

    None should be reelected! History cannot be erased or changed.

  20. Jake says:

    If a black guy shoots up a white church what flag will be removed?

  21. Anonymous says:

    The majority of the Florida Senators are not true Floridians, they’re Northern Transplants that come down here for a tax break, and want to change everything. Also, the last three Governors were not from Florida either.

  22. Jason says:

    I saw a funny cartoon the other day, it was a picture of a white flag of surrender and the caption read …. The only Confederate flag that mattered.

  23. Knightwatch says:

    Agree wholeheartedly with Richard S. and Andy. What a wonderful, inclusive gesture that would be. Doesn’t quite make up for suppressing native Floridians and stealing their lands, but helps. In fact, this should be a movement across the country … acknowledging the wrongs European-Americans inflicted on Native Americans by including Native American symbols in all state flags. Just imagine such an introspective and inclusive America!

    Oh, forgot about the Republican clown parade. Never mind.

  24. katie semore says:

    The Civil War is part of our history and so is slavery. Maybe a picture of a slave market should be added to the seal of all the states that made up the confederate states. Don’t forget that there should also be a rendering of the slave master beating the slave with a whip because he wasn’t working hard or fast enough. That time in our history is not a time to be proud of and why anyone would want to remember it in a prideful way is disgusting.

  25. Sherry says:

    Great idea. . . honoring the “original” inhabitants of the USA SHOULD be a fundamental part of our culture!

    Although, there are too many ignorant people that actually consider the “Europeans” who came here and slaughtered the indigenous people to be the first “Americans”. Despicable!

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