Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he will once again allow U.S. diplomatic installations to fly the Pride flag.
The Trump administration in 2019 banned U.S. embassies and consulates from flying the Pride flag on official flagpoles. Georgia Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-Ga.) has introduced the Old Glory Only Act, which would “prohibit the flying of any flag other than the U.S. flag over U.S. diplomatic and consular posts.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster — one of the openly gay men who served as ambassadors during the Obama administration — on Friday applauded Blinken’s decision.
“As one of the constant supporters of Human Rights and LGBTQ rights throughout his life, President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken are showing the commitment to fighting for the rights of the marginalized around the globe,” Brewster told the Washington Blade. “So proud of our global leadership once again!”
President Biden in February issued a memorandum that committed the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ rights abroad.
Blinken is among the administration officials who publicly acknowledged the Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31. The State Department has also disbanded the Commission on Unalienable Rights that LGBTQ activists sharply criticized.
“Sec. Blinken is committed to the rights and prosperity of our LGBTQ+ community, both our employees at State and all around the world,” said State Department spokesperson Jalina Porter on Friday in response to the Washington Blade’s question about Blinken’s cable during a press briefing with reporters.
“The department issues Pride guidance to our missions on a regular basis,” added Porter. “Overseas facilities actually don’t require Washington approval. However, flying the flag from the same flagpole as the U.S. (flag) actually doesn’t require approval as well.”
“In prior years the department has issued a blanket authorization or requested that posts request permission from Washington to fly a Pride flag from the same flagpole as the U.S. flag,” Porter further noted to the Blade.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.