Last year, the Pentagon instituted a ban on “unofficial flags” that was aimed at Confederate flags on military bases. But in true Trumpian fashion, the ban also covered Pride flags. Then-candidate Joe Biden promised that he would overturn the ban on Pride flags if he was elected.
Last Friday, the Pentagon announced that it was keeping the ban on Pride flags in place. So what about Biden’s campaign promise?
Banning the Confederate flag from military installations was long overdue.
Banning the LGBTQ Pride flag — the very symbol of diversity and inclusion — is undeniably wrong. The Pentagon should ensure it is authorized, or as President, I will.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 19, 2020
Unfortunately, the unmet promise comes at a time when the Biden administration is having a somewhat mixed Pride month. While the administration has taken dramatic steps to undo the damage done by the Trump administration, it also has had its share of more questionable moments this month.
Besides the Pentagon’s ban on the Pride flag, the Department of Justice announced that it would defend Christian schools accused of anti-LGBTQ bias. The move was surprising for a number of reasons, including its coinciding with Pride month.
None of the recent news diminishes the gains the Administration has made to date. But it does raise questions about how much the community can expect. The stalling of the Equality Act has been a source of irritation with the administration for many activists, despite the lion’s share of the blame falling on the handful of Senators reluctant to end the filibuster that blocks the bill’s passage.
The Pride flag ban reinforces the impression that the military is tolerant of the LGBTQ service members in its ranks, but not entirely accepting. The president’s willingness to intervene as he promised would send a strong message to the LGBTQ community about his support. It would also send the Pentagon a reminder as to who the commander-in-chief is.
A request for comment sent to the senior adviser on LGBTQ+ issues at the White House was not returned by publication. We’ll update if the White House answers the question. Will Biden intervene?