Historic Sea to Sea Rainbow Flag to be displayed at the Morehead Pride Festival

Key West’s 25 ft section of Gilbert Baker’s Rainbow ‘Sea to Sea’ flag will be on display during the Morehead Pride Festival on Aug.27 at East First Street, Morehead, KY. The flag has traveled to recent historic events held at the White House and in Australia and New Orleans as a symbol of equality and justice. This iconic piece of LGBTQ* history was present on the steps of the Supreme Court for last year’s historic marriage equality ruling and it was recently displayed during President Obama’s visit to the Orlando victim’s memorial. Visitors will learn about the history of this iconic LGBTQ* flag from Sacred Cloth Director Mark Ebenhoch who will be a guest speaker during the event.

Read Mark Ebenhoch’s statement about this iconic piece of LGBTQ* history:

‘Touched by angels’ is a common statement heard lately by many in the LGBTI community regarding Key West’s 25 foot section of Gilbert Baker’s historical Rainbow25 ‘Sea to Sea’ Flag. 18,600 linear yards of fabric, weighing two tons, was sewn together by Baker in Key West FL in 2003 to create a 1.25 mile long rainbow flag in the original 8 colors vice the 6 colors normally seen. An entire community and 2000+ volunteers were used in this huge project commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1978 rainbow flag originally created by Baker (a close friend of Commissioner Harvey Milk) in San Francisco.

11154585_951639798219799_4338455872095961923_o“The rainbow flag is loved and cherished all over the world” Baker said, “It represents an idea of equality and justice for everyone.”

And that justice and equality is exactly what this small 25 ft section has witnessed up close and personal. During the last several years in the sprint to the SCOTUS Obergefell ruling in Jun 2015, was seen, touched and photographed more than any other worldwide.

Section #93 is a small section of the 1.25 mile Sea to Sea flag, which was cut into sections and distributed to cities worldwide after the 2003 public unfurling and simultaneous ends being submersed in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico in Key West, hence it’s ‘sea to sea’ moniker.  Over the last 12 years it has been featured at celebrations in Manchester, England; Vancouver and Toronto Canada; Stockholm Sweden, in addition to many major cities in states across America. Additionally, it was displayed at the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC and carried by Equality Virginia in the 2014 inauguration Parade for Governor Terry McAuliffe

Carried to Washington D.C. by the Key West marriage equality case (Huntsman v. Heavilin) plaintiffs Aaron Huntsman and William ‘Lee’ Jones’ group in April of 2015 for the United States Supreme Court oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, this ‘little’ 25 ft section found itself the center of attention. Unfurled upon the steps of the Courthouse  the morning of the oral arguments, it attracted not only the massive international media, but 40 years of plaintiffs in DC from 33 states such as, Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, California, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and many others supporting this change in American civil rights. With those plaintiffs proudly clutching that flag, the Obergefell plaintiffs and lawyer teams jubilantly walked past with thumbs up and confidence in that symbol of equality and justice, the crowds went wild. The entire world watched live as that sacred cloth electrified a nation.

11110366_951638948219884_5611314385959888047_oSoon after, the Louisiana Federal 5th Circuit Plaintiffs, Derek and Jon Penton-Robicheaux, reached out and requested that section accompany them and the Grand Marshalls for the 44th Southern Decadence Parade in New Orleans in September. Carried by plaintiffs from Louisiana, Key West and Alabama, it was a huge hit with the 200,000+ along the parade route. It was fast becoming a “sacred piece of cloth”.

As the last of the Obergefell case plaintiffs to wed, Timothy Love and Lawrence Ysunza, were approaching their wedding date, they were looking to adorn the church with banners/signs or memorabilia from the private national plaintiffs group on Facebook, used during their national fight for marriage equality. The 25 ft section was offered by Mark Ebenhoch, Huntsman and Jones’ media director, to be sent to Kentucky and Tim Love accepted with awed excitement and emotion. The rest they say is history. The community in Key West however, wasn’t done yet. They gathered the Mayor and as many as they could for a surprise memory photo with the flag as a gift from Key West for the Love/Ysunza wedding. While it was in Louisville, all 6 couples in the Bourke v. Beshear case (which was combined with Obergefell) and all plaintiffs in the current Kim Davis Case of Rowan County were photographed together with that flag section and in attendance at Love’s wedding.

12186369_1023208434397591_3046927478395169_oIt had finally come full circle in its life as the symbolic battle flag for justice and equality.  It was immediately requested by Timothy Love to travel to Rowan County KY, to be unfurled at the county Clerk Kim Davis’s office and an invited event being held at Morehead State University. Immediately after its Rowan County appearances it was requested by KY’s Fairness Campaign (a statewide equality organization) for a statewide tour for the month of October 2015.

Soon after the Kentucky tour, Australia building a strong marriage equality movement and watching the US battle for equality observed Section #93 had become such a revered historical and public icon, Australian LGBT leaders requested it there for their worldwide GLBT Pride celebration. Australia requested that this portion be featured in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebration, which is the largest in the world. Their theme this year being “Momentum”, and that this section is so well-known globally, symbolizing so much significance for LGBT rights in the world, Australia invited the flag for inclusion in their movement in March, 2016.  In the planning stages, the US Mission Australia had requested inclusion as well and requested the flag be carried the entire parade route in front of 500,000+ by the US Ambassador to Australia, John Berry with The French Ambassador Christophe Lecoutrie at his side combining both the American and French Embassy’s staff.  The conclusion of this trip also included a documented ceremonious dipping into the South Pacific Ocean giving it now a hemisphere to hemisphere distinction. Mr. Ebenhoch (project director for The Sacred Cloth Project) personally hand-delivered Section 93 to Australia, in person and was with both Ambassadors. Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull and his wife were in attendance.This was a worldwide historical event, it not only was the first time a sitting Prime Minister attended, but the first openly gay sitting Ambassador from a G20 country ever to participate in a pride event officially representing the US equality policy.

In June 2016 it headed to Washington DC to be displayed at the Whitehouse for the Obama Administration’s last LGBT Presidential Reception on June 9, 2016. The Whitehouse vetting timeframe resulted in Whitehouse carpenter staff unable to complete the required frame in time so it was requested and displayed at the DNC after event immediately after President Obama’s reception ended.

On route to New Orlea13475049_1706137629607031_4931487339299902840_ons, LA for its preplanned display for the 43rd anniversary of the Upstairs Lounge fire in 1973 that killed 32 LGBT members, it was diverted within 24 hours to Orlando, Florida in response to the tragic event of 49 lives lost at the Pulse nightclub on June 12th, 2016.

Section 93 was displayed in downtown Orlando at the request of Mayor Teresa Jacobs of Orange County, pulling out all stops to facilitate its display during the Presidential visit to that city. The following morning a memorial ceremony was held honoring the 49 victims with both city and county leaders acknowledging Sec 93’s presence and was televised worldwide.

Section 93 headed to New Orleans direct from Orlando for its scheduled display in downtown New Orleans on the 43rd anniversary of the Upstairs Lounge Fire June 24th 2016.

13458698_973928596060670_7044621442510380519_oIts next scheduled display will be in Rowan County, KY, leading that community’s first LGBT Pride celebration in late August 2016 and was specifically requested by that community.

Section #93 got its name, “The Sacred Cloth” by the Obergefell plaintiffs in October 2015 and is now referred to as, by many in the nationwide LGBT community, the hardened battle flag for marriage equality and LGBT rights. Thousands directly involved in the struggle for those LGBT rights and many more thousands in support of, both in the US and abroad, have touched or held this section of the Sea to Sea flag Rainbow25 flag.

The Project goals:

Forever preserve this iconic and symbolic “battle flag” section #93, as an artifact representing the LGBTQ/allies struggles for equal treatment spanning the last 40 plus years and the monumental Supreme Court ruling in June 2015 at the Smithsonian/National Museum of American History as its historical significance and value is unparalleled.

Gain bipartisan Congressional and Senate support/endorsement for this project.

Continue dialogue with the Smithsonian Institute/National Museum of American History for its future permanent placement.

For further information, contact:

Mark Ebenhoch
Project Director
The Sacred Cloth Project
305 923 2238