Congresswoman Diana DeGette

Representing the First District of Colorado
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Lawmakers urge State Department to reverse decision barring raising of LGBT flag at US embassies

Jun 11, 2019
Press Release
DeGette, others say policy contradicts diplomatic corps’ work to support LGBT rights overseas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A group of U.S. lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), are calling on the U.S. Department of State to reverse its decision to ban U.S. embassies from flying the rainbow LGBT flag during pride month.

“This policy denies U.S. missions the opportunity to show support for the LGBT community – both in country and within the walls of our embassies,” DeGette and others wrote in a letter sent today to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “We strongly urge the State Department to reverse its position and immediately allow for these flags to be flown.”

The letter comes after the Trump administration rejected requests from U.S. embassies in Germany, Israel, Latvia and Brazil to fly the rainbow pride flag on public-facing flagpoles. In response to criticism, Vice President Mike Pence and the Department of State have publicly stated that the Trump administration’s official position is that only American flags should be displayed at U.S. embassies.

“To bar this flag from U.S. Embassies is to condone the discriminatory policies of many countries around the world,” DeGette and others wrote. “In 2018, all requests for permission to display rainbow pride flags were granted. In 2019, all requests for permission have been denied. This sharp pivot in the implementation of this policy is concerning and contradicts the diplomatic corps’ work to support LGBT rights overseas.”

Following is the full text of the letter sent to Pompeo:

June 11, 2019

The Honorable Mike R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St. NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

We are highly concerned by the Department’s rejection of requests by U.S. Embassies to fly rainbow flags in honor of LGBT Pride Month. This policy denies U.S. missions the opportunity to show support for the LGBT community – both in country and within the walls of our embassies. We strongly urge the State Department to reverse its position and immediately allow for these flags to be flown.

In too many countries around the world, LGBT individuals are systematically discriminated against, and receive no protection from law enforcement. To bar this flag from U.S. Embassies is to condone the discriminatory policies of many countries around the world. In 2018, all requests for permission to display rainbow pride flags were granted. In 2019, all requests for permission have been denied. This sharp pivot in the implementation of this policy is concerning and contradicts the diplomatic corps’ work to support LGBT rights overseas.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,