The U.S. State Department has denied requests from overseas American embassies to fly LGBTQ pride flags on official flagpoles during the month of June.
According to NBC News, “The U.S. embassies in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia are among those that have requested permission from Trump’s State Department to fly the pride flag on their flagpoles and have been denied.”
“That is the right decision,” Franklin Graham posted to his Facebook on June 8. “The only flag that should fly over our embassies is the flag of the United States of America. The gay pride flag is offensive to Christians and millions of people of other faiths, not only in this country but around the world. The U.S. flag represents our nation—everyone—regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation.”
Pride flags have been permitted to be displayed elsewhere on embassy grounds, just not on the official flagpole.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, has made it clear that he believes in Biblical marriage—marriage between one man and one woman—and has affirmed that gay employees will be respected and treated like everyone else.
During the Obama administration in 2016, a cable written at the time gave foreign U.S. embassies “blanket written authorization from the Under Secretary for Management to display the pride flag on the external-facing flagpole” during the month of June.
Last year, the State Department sent an advisory cable rescinding the previous approval and requiring diplomats to obtain top-level permission from the State Department’s Office of Management.
Although most embassies have respectfully accepted the State Department’s position, the policy shift has seemed to provoke some liberal-leaning diplomats. U.S. diplomats in Jerusalem were seen participating in a March for Pride and Tolerance, while several other ambassadors tweeted photos of themselves in local pride parades.
In 2018, Republicans introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to ban any flag that is not the American flag from flying in concert with the Stars and Stripes.
“The United States flag is the single greatest symbol of freedom the world has ever known, and there’s no reason for anything but Old Glory to be flying over our embassies and posts around the globe,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) at the time.