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Biden Administration Wants to Repeal Foreign Embassy Pride Flag Provision

'President Biden is committed to fighting for LGBTQI+ equality at home and abroad,' said a White House spokesperson

Biden Administration Wants to Repeal Foreign Embassy Pride Flag Provision

The Biden administration has vowed to fight a provision in the $1.2 trillion spending package that bars U.S. embassies from flying LGBTQ flags.

President Joe Biden signed the bill on March 23 just before the government shutdown deadline. Despite this, an unnamed member of the Biden administration denounced the restriction on pride flags and said the federal government would try to block it.

A White House spokesperson told Axios that the president “believes it was inappropriate to abuse the process that was essential to keep the government open by including this policy targeting LGBTQI+ Americans.”

“We were successful in defeating 50+ other policy riders attacking the LGBTQI+ community that Congressional Republicans attempted to insert into the legislation,” the spokesperson said. “President Biden is committed to fighting for LGBTQI+ equality at home and abroad.”

The statement reiterates sentiments shared by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on March 24 in a post on X.

Under the policy, no flags other than the American flag can be flown outside of U.S. embassies. Pride flags, as well as any other flag presenting an ideological view such as the Black Lives Matter flag, are now prohibited. The provision does grant exceptions for flags honoring prisoners of war, missing-in-action soldiers or wrongfully detained Americans.

The State Department permitted embassies to fly pride flags in 2021. Secretary of State Antony Blinken authorized diplomats to fly pride flags during June, which many countries recognize as Pride month. Blinken noted that the authorization was not a requirement and granted diplomats discretion when deciding if they would raise the pride flag based on what would be “appropriate in light of local conditions.”

“Flying the Pride flag at U.S. embassies became a point of contention during the Trump era, when, under [former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo], the State Department blocked embassies’ requests to fly the flag on the same flagpole as the U.S. banner. Diplomats were told they could display Pride symbols elsewhere in embassies,” reports Foreign Policy.

LGBTQ advocates criticized Biden for signing the spending bill despite the inclusion of the restriction on pride flags.

Flag bans have been proposed and enacted by conservatives across the country as a way to censor specifically the rainbow Pride flag,” wrote The Advocate, an LGBTQ publication, on March 25. “The federal measure was stuck into the government spending agreement by Republicans during negotiations and enthusiastically promoted by anti-LGBTQ+ House Speaker Mike Johnson.”

"It poses absolutely no limits to other displays of a pride flag, hosting LGBTQ+ events or embassy employees’ ability to display Pride flags in their work spaces," said Brandon Wolf, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign spokesperson, in a statement, per Fox Business.

The flag restriction will be in effect for the length of the funding authorization which will expire on Sept. 30.

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