The Pride flag is flying at the United States embassy to the Holy See during the month of June in honor of the LGBTQI+ community.
“The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See celebrates#PrideMonth with the Pride flag on display during the month of June,” wrote the embassy in a tweet. “The United States respects the dignity and equality of LGBTQI+ people. LGBTQI+ rights are human rights.”
US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, authorized that the Pride flag can be flown on the same pole as the Stars and Stripes. Blinken’s official authorization is a reversal of the Trump administration’s 2019 decision to prohibit the same.
“As we celebrate Pride Month this June, let us not only observe how far we have come in the struggle for the human rights of LGBTQI+ people but also acknowledge the challenges that remain,” said Mr. Blinken.
Authorized by the Biden administration and in anticipation of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, this display event was announced before May 17th — a “Worldwide Celebration of Sexual and Gender Diversities.”
This commemorative event on May 17th was initially created in 2004 to focus on the discrimination and violence experienced by LGBTQI+ community. It commemorates the World Health Organization’s 1990 move to declassify this diversity as a mental disorder.
Unfortunately, U.S. embassies in some locations have been asked by authorities to refrain from flying the flag out of fear of potential public reactions.
Reportedly, using flagpoles outside of federal buildings to fly the Pride flag was prohibited by the Trump administration. However, hanging the flag indoors was permitted.
The GOP tried to force embassies back to the Trump-era ban on Pride flags beginning the first day of Pride Month. Republican lawmakers signed a Congressional bill, established as H.R. 85, that prohibits all embassies globally from flying either the LGBTQI+ Pride or Black Lives Matter flag.
H.R. 85, otherwise known as the “Old Glory Act,” would mandate that “no U.S. diplomatic or consular post flies any flag” other than the Red, White and Blue. One House lawmaker stated that “no other flag or symbol can portray our American values” better than the Old Glory.
Republican politicians and the religious right are upset that the U.S. government would promote tolerance. Nebraska’s governor, Pete Ricketts (R), is especially vexed and called the display a “political stunt.” Incidentally, Ricketts’ sister is a lesbian.
Announcing that the Pride flag is flying outside the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See caused backlash from some Americans, mostly Catholics. They inquired if the Pride flag is flying outside certain embassies where being LGBTQI+ carries a death sentence.
— snopes.com (@snopes) June 4, 2021
Following the news, one person wrote, “Do we have this flag hanging in Saudi Arabia? Indonesia? Iraq? Or is the Biden Administration’s policy really just meant to provoke the Catholic Church?”
Josh Hammer, Editor at Newsweek, claims the event is a “deliberate, provocative insult to traditional Catholicism.”
President Joe Biden, who is also Catholic, released this statement regarding the June celebration.
“Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity,” stated Biden, before asking Congress to pass the Equality Act, which classifies sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under federal law.