A Trump-era policy has now been overturned and U.S. embassies can now fly pride flags on the same pole as the U.S. flag.
According to Foreign Policy Magazine, Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken has authorized U.S diplomatic missions to fly the rainbow pride flag on the same pole as the American flag at embassies and consulates across the globe. That said, Blinken specified that including the Pride flag is not a requirement. Instead, his authorization is more to give each mission chief the ability to “determine that such a display is appropriate in light of local conditions.”
This authorization comes two years after the Trump Administration blocked embassies’ requests to fly the flag on the same pole as the American flag. But according to the New York Times, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department did not full-out ban the pride flag from being used.
— U.S. Embassy Seoul (@USEmbassySeoul) May 31, 2020
That said, there was an argument over the use of a Pride flag at the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea. In 2020, the Trump Administration ordered the embassy in Seoul to remove a rainbow flag hung in support of LGBTQ Pride Month and a Black Lives Matter banner. Both the flag and banner worked around the flag pole issue by being hung on the outside of the building and not flung from the pole. The order, however, was still issued, and reportedly came from Mike Pompeo’s office directly.
In an interview with NBC News, then-Vice President Mike Pence defended the flag pole order by stating it was an act of patriotism.
“As the president said on the night we were elected, we’re proud to be able to serve every American. We both feel that way very passionately, but when it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies,” he argued.
But it looks like the Biden Administration believes there’s more than enough room for several flags to fly at U.S. embassies across the globe.
“President Biden believes that America’s strength is found in its diversity. America is stronger, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive,” a State Department spokesperson told Business Insider. “Recognizing that each country context is different, U.S. embassies and consulates develop individual plans to raise awareness of violence, human rights abuses, and discrimination targeting LGBTQI+ persons, including appropriate exterior displays. ”
They added, “If Chiefs of Mission determine that it is appropriate to do so, they may fly the Pride flag on external-facing flagpoles below the U.S. flag at U.S. diplomatic facilities overseas.”