Mike Pence is defending the administration’s ban on flying pride flags as patriotism

Vice President Mike Pence
Vice President Mike PencePhoto: Shutterstock

Vice President Mike Pence, best known for his nonstop attacks on the LGBTQ community in the name of “religious freedom,” is defending the administration’s decision to stop allowing American embassies to fly the Pride flag in June.

While foreign outposts are defying Trump and finding ways to circumvent the guidance, Pence attempted to spin the rebellion as a way the administration is “serving” the LGBTQ community.

In an interview with NBC News, Pence confirmed reports that the feds were denying embassies’ requests to hoist the rainbow flag. Under the first two years of the Trump administration and the entire Obama presidency, embassies were allowed to fly the Pride flag, march in Pride parades, and host official functions to celebrate LGBTQ equality.

After news broke that some missions were getting creative in ways to work around the direction, Pence stressed that his reason for claiming “it’s the right decision” wasn’t about opposing LGBTQ rights. It was about the American flag. The regulations from the State Department said the American flag was the only one allowed to fly on the embassy’s flagpole.

“As the president said on the night we were elected, we’re proud to be able to serve every American,” Pence said in a halting attempt to brush off outrage from ambassadors and activists. But, he added, “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.”

Related: Embassies worldwide are defying Trump & flying the Pride flag without permission

Pence said the administration had put no restrictions on other Pride decorations or events and diplomats are using that to their advantage by lighting up mission buildings in rainbow colors, hanging pride flags and banners on embassy walls, and hosting pride events.

President Trump’s recent “pride proclamation” (issued via Tweet) was widely met with skepticism and anger after the administration had issued two viciously anti-LGBTQ directives in the days before Trump grabbed his phone. News that flying the Pride flag was also forbidden came shortly after.

In his tweet, Trump claimed America was leading efforts to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide. The initiative is being led by internet-troll-turned-German ambassador, Richard Grenell. Grenell’s request to fly the Pride flag was one of those officially denied by the State Department.

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