Flying flags doesn't seem like a big deal. Put up a pole and display a piece of cloth. The question is, when the flag pole is on a government building, what rules should apply? Should Rainbow / Pride / Diversity flags be flown over United States Embassies?
In a show of solidarity with LGBT Israelis, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is flying a rainbow flag to mark gay pride week.
“For the first time in history, (2014) the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has raised the Pride flag together with our American flag,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro posted on Facebook Tuesday. “We are proud to join with the municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo and its residents in celebrating LGBT Pride Week.” – theblaze.com (2014)
The Obama administration seems to be more visible in its support of LGBT rights overseas than here at home (my opinion). Visual and political spectacles have been increasing as his terms have moved on. Representing his administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaimed at the United Nations in Geneva that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights are an international issue and are "one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time." (Dec 2011)
U.S. President Barack Obama has taken the U.S. gay rights revolution global, using American embassies across the world to promote a cause that still divides his own country.
With gay pride parades taking place in many cities across the world this weekend, the U.S. role will be more visible than ever. Diplomats will take part in parades and some embassies will fly the rainbow flag along with the Stars and Stripes.
The United States sent five openly gay ambassadors abroad last year, with a sixth nominee, to Vietnam, now awaiting Senate confirmation. American diplomats are working to support gay rights in countries such as Poland, where prejudice remains deep, and to oppose violence and other abuse in countries like Nigeria and Russia, where gays face life-threatening risks. – ctvnews.ca (2014).
Last year, they United Kingdom joined the United States with its international show of support for LGBT Pride. But that all changed this year.
British embassies will no longer fly the rainbow flag during Pride events around the world. The flag will also not be flown from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) during London Pride – as occurred last year – following instructions from Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, the Daily Mail reports.
“The Union flag always takes priority,” an FCO spokesperson said. “It is flown from the FCO’s main flagpole at all times. It is never substituted for another flag. It is the FCO’s long-standing policy to fly the Union flag, national flags and the flags of Overseas Territories.
Last year – before Mr Hammond took over the role – British embassies in Paris, Oslo, Tel Aviv and Santiago also flew the rainbow flag to mark local Pride events. An embassy staff member in Rome reportedly told the Mail: “Staff of all persuasions at the embassy wore the rainbow colours in T-shirts for a photo shoot for Rome Pride as they were not allowed to fly the flag.
“People are seriously unhappy.” Philip Hammond was one of just four Cabinet ministers to oppose the gay marriage policy in 2012, saying it was “upsetting vast numbers of people”. – attitude.co.uk
Which policy do you side with? The Brits or the US?
Should the Rainbow flag fly over our embassies? Some may think this is an odd question for a gay magazine blogger to ask, but I can see both sides. I can see that the United States would like to show its support for equal rights for all, but is an embassy in a foreign nation the place to do it? Isn't the American flag enough to fly? Doesn't that represent equality and freedom for all? Doesn't the British flag do the same?
Do we need to hoist the Rainbow banner on top of our government buildings here at home? Do we see any other flags flying over our government buildings? Well, South Carolina is always the odd state out. And there are other pride parades than the LGBT ones, other groups with celebrations that could be represented. Do they get the chance to fly their flag next to our Stars and Stripes or the Union Jack?
What about other minorities fighting for rights. In 2012 there were over 35 million Americans that are of Mexican descent. Do we fly the Mexican flag over our government buildings throughout the year? There were roughly 9 million adult citizens that identify as LGBT in 2012. Is our pride more prominent than any other groups' pride?