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US lawmakers move to bar Pride flags over embassies

US lawmakers move to bar Pride flags over embassies
Source: Pixabay

US lawmakers moved Thursday toward banning the flying of LGBTQ Pride flags over US embassies, a victory for conservatives in a long-running US cultural battle being played out overseas.

The prohibition is one of a slew of side issues tucked away in a $1.2 trillion funding package hammered out by lawmakers early Thursday.

Both the Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate are expected to approve the plan to keep the government running ahead of a deadline of Friday midnight when three-quarters of the government will run out of funds.

The package says that no funding can be used to “fly or display a flag over a facility of the United States Department of State” other than the US or other government-related flags or flags in support of prisoners of war, missing-in-action soldiers, hostages and wrongfully imprisoned Americans.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the 1,012-page funding bill even though his administration has embraced LGBTQ rights and would likely have reservations about the flag move.

In a sharp change from his predecessor, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not only allowed but encouraged US missions to fly the rainbow flag, which celebrates the movement for LGBTQ equality, in June, which is Pride month.

Under former president Donald Trump, Blinken’s predecessor Mike Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, ordered that only the US flag fly from embassy flagpoles.

The US embassy in Seoul in 2016 tried to work around the directive by putting a rainbow banner on its facade, not the pole — an option that appears still to be permissible under the new funding package.

But the embassy took it down at the same time that the Trump administration ordered it to remove a banner for Black Lives Matter put up after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

In one of the most famous public displays for Pride, former president Barack Obama’s administration lit up the White House in the rainbow colors in 2015 to celebrate the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the United States.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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