WASHINGTON – The United States Senate passed legislation designating Pulse nightclub, the scene of a deadly shooting five years ago, a national memorial on Wednesday.
The bill, S. 1605, was passed by voice vote without dissent three days before the anniversary of an attack on the Orlando, Florida nightclub popular among gay club goers.
The House passed its own version of the bill, HR 49, on May 12. The legislation is named after the 49 people killed when gunman Omar Mateen attacked the club armed with an AR-15 style assault rifle.
President Joe Biden is expected to sign HR 49 into law. The president has shown support for anti-discrimination legislation targeting Americans who identify as LGBTQ.
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But the bill was also passed at a turbulent time for LGBTQ rights in Florida. Days before the Senate’s unanimous vote, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a ban on transgender athletes from participating in female sports at the high school and college levels.
Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla., Who was Governor of Florida at the time of the attack, spoke Wednesday in the Senate. He also tweeted: “Five years ago we lost 49 innocent lives in a terrorist attack on our state, nation, and Hispanic and LGBTQ communities at Pulse Nightclub. We will never forget them. Today @marcorubio and I honored their memory and passed our bill establishing the “National Pulse Memorial.”
Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Also recognized the anniversary of the Senate shooting and issued a statement.
“Today, we are still strong, together, to remember the 49 young lives lost on that tragic day and to honor their memory with the passage of our resolution and our bill to establish the ‘National Pulse Memorial'”, he wrote. “I hope this memorial will forever serve as a tribute to the victims and a reminder for all of us to always stand up for love and kindness rather than hate and evil in this world.”
A message was posted on the Pulse nightclub Facebook page on Wednesday thanking Scott, Rubio, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif. and the rest of the Senate for passing the bill.
“Unanimous consent is great news as we close to mark five years of commemoration of the Pulse tragedy. This recognition from the House and Senate means a lot to the LGBTQ + community. #WeWillNotLetHateWin,” said the message.
Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the attack, also tweeted his thanks after the adoption of the bill.
“Thank you, Florida delegation, for recognizing our sacred land,” he wrote.