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US Embassies Denied by the Trump Administration

Longstanding policy of flying rainbow flag in June is scuttled
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2019 3:00 PM CDT
A state worker unfurls a rainbow flag in front of the Washington state Capitol to prepare it to be raised and then lowered to half-staff to mark last weekend's mass shooting at a central Florida nightclub,...   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(Newser) – US embassies wanting to fly rainbow flags have received a stark rebuke from the Trump administration, NBC News reports. Embassies in Latvia, Brazil, Israel, Germany, and other nations sought permission to fly the pride flag in June—LGBTQ Pride Month—and were denied by the State Department, diplomats say. That flew in the face of Obama administration policy, which allowed it every year, and President Trump's recent tweet about anti-gay discrimination: "My administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and [we] invite all nations to join us in this effort!" Flying the flag was "a routine thing that happens every year" at the US Embassy in Berlin, a State Department source tells CNN. "It's always accepted."

The Berlin ambassador, Richard Grenell—also the highest openly gay official in the Trump administration—responded with a positive statement about Trump's tweet and the fact that pride flags can still be flown or put up in other parts of the embassy. His team will "hang a huge banner on the side of the Embassy recognizing our pride, host multiple events at the Embassy and the residence, and fly the gay pride flag," said Grenell, who is leading the administration's effort to stop the criminalization of gays in about 70 countries. Asked if Grenell was privately annoyed by the flag-pole ban, CNN's source said, "Yes." The refusals came from Brian Bulatao, undersecretary for management. (Read more gay pride stories.)

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