Four United States embassies around the world have requested to fly the LGBTQ flag on their flagpoles for Pride Month, and all four requests have been denied by the State Department, NBC News reported, citing three U.S. diplomats.
During the Obama administration, embassies were given blanket permission to fly the pride flag, but the Trump administration has changed the policy to require embassies request permission. This is, of course, in line with the administration’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies including on adoption by same-sex couples and transgender rights.
So far, requests from embassies in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia have all been denied by State Department undersecretary Brian Bulatao, a longtime aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo is a devout evangelical Christian who opposes same-sex marriage and who, as a congressman, co-sponsored legislation to allow states not to recognize gay marriage and to let businesses deny service to gay customers. He also called the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize gay marriages nationwide a “shocking abuse of power.”
Denying Germany’s request was especially a surprise, as U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell is spearheading a campaign to support decriminalization of homosexuality in the 70 nations where it is currently illegal. Grenell, who is gay, is “the highest ranking openly gay official ever in a Republican administration,” according to the Log Cabin Republicans.
Embassies are permitted, however, to display the flag elsewhere on embassy grounds, which some, including those in Germany and South Korea, have done.
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“The President’s recognition of Pride Month and his tweet encouraging our decriminalization campaign gives me even more pride to once again march in the Berlin Pride parade, hang a huge banner on the side of the Embassy recognizing our pride, host multiple events at the Embassy and the residence, and fly the gay pride flag,” Grenell told NBC News.
But, thanks to Trump and Pompeo, that flag will not be flying on the embassy’s official flagpole.