WASHINGTON — In a Monday evening television interview, Vice President Mike Pence confirmed reports that American embassies had been banned from flying the pride flag on their embassy flagpoles.
In an interview with NBC News, Pence said, “I’m aware that the State Department indicated that on the flagpole of our American embassies that one flag should fly, and that’s the American flag, and I support that.”
The Trump administration came under fire at the beginning of June for allegedly banning U.S. embassies from flying the pride flag. American diplomats told NBC News that embassies, including those in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia, had requested to fly the pride flag alongside the American flag on their embassy flagpoles and were denied. June is Pride Month, a month-long celebration of the LGBTQ community.
Multiple embassies still flew the pride flag or held their own observations of Pride Month, a move seemingly in conflict with the ban, according to the Washington Post.
Randy Berry, the ambassador to Nepal and the Obama administration’s special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI persons, tweeted a pride observance at the beginning of the month along with his embassy staff all dressed in rainbow colors.
Pence noted that the Trump administration placed no restrictions on the display of other flags or other pride memorabilia elsewhere in embassies.
State Department policy requires embassies to request permission from the State Department if they wanted to fly another flag underneath the American flag. But under the Obama administration, embassies were generally given permission to do so. The decision to fly a pride flag usually was left to the individual chief of mission or the ambassador.
When asked if the ban on the pride flag contradicted the Trump administration’s observances of pride month, Pence replied, “as the president said on the night we were elected, we’re proud to be able to serve every American.”
He continued, saying, “We both feel that way very passionately, but when it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, having the one American flag fly, I think it is the right decision.”
The Trump administration started a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality but has been criticized for its record on LGBT rights. The administration’s ban on some recruits with gender dysphoria went into effect in mid-April, and Trump previously said that he wanted to ban all transgender recruits from the military.
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