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A banner year for Gay Pride



The 15-month display of banners plugging Disney World's 25th anniversary elicited lots of grumbling, causing Orlando's Downtown Development Board to rethink its policy for affixing lightpoles with promotional flags. From now on, only city-sponsored events will be heralded with colorful banners draped throughout downtown -- with one exception.

Look for about 375 light standards to be fitted with the rainbow flag celebrating Gay Pride Month in June, when a privately funded display coordinated by the gay newspaper Watermark goes up. An application for the first-time display was made before the policy change took effect.

"The mayor has already said she wants to celebrate diversity," says Watermark associate publisher Keith Peterson, one of several at the paper volunteering time on the project. Fund-raising will cover the costs as well as benefit the nonprofit Orlando Regional Pride, which organizes a gay pride parade. The hope is that the city will accept the flags as a donation to use again and again -- and be proud to do it.

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