No more pride, BLM flags

House Republicans introduced legislation this week that would ban flags other than the American flag from flying over American diplomatic and consular posts, after the Biden administration authorized Pride flags and Black Lives Matter flags. Matter to float from US embassies.

The Old Glory Only Act, by Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, aims to push back against what Republicans say is the Biden administration’s politicization of US embassies.

“Our beautiful flag, Old Glory, should be the only flag flying and representing our country on our diplomatic and consular posts around the world,” Duncan said this week. “The American flag is a symbol of freedom, and no other flag or symbol represents our shared values ​​better than the stars and stripes.”

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“It’s important to make sure Old Glory only flies into American embassies to represent our ideals abroad,” he said. A congressional aide said there have not yet been any specific discussions about whether the bill will pass, but Republicans are optimistic that the new GOP leadership will be open to holding a vote at the light of the broad GOP support for the idea.

The push to fly the rainbow pride flag began in 2014, during the Obama administration. The Pride flag has flown above embassies in more than a dozen countries since then, including Russia, Spain, Sweden and South Korea.

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The Black Lives Matter flag has been flown at US embassies in Brazil, Greece, Spain, Bosnia, Cambodia and South Korea, according to Duncan’s office.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo banned the flying of these flags, but that decision was reversed under the Biden administration. In April 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken authorized embassies and consulates to fly the Rainbow Pride Flag.

He endorsed the change just before May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and said embassy leaders could decide whether flying a Pride flag was “appropriate in light of local conditions”.

A month later, Blinken indicated his support for allowing embassies to fly Black Lives Matter flags on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death. A leaked memo from the State Department said it “supports the use of the term ‘Black Lives Matter'” and said it authorizes officials to “display the BLM flag on the forward-facing mast.” outside to all Heads of Mission who determine such display is appropriate in light of local conditions.”

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Biden waving

President Biden’s administration is facing backlash from Republicans for flying flags other than the American flag abroad.

These decisions led to Republican criticism that displaying anything other than the American flag was a political statement that should not be made by official United States embassies.

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In 2021, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York proposed similar legislation to ban the use of other flags, and said the Biden administration allows the display of “inherently political flags that are in no way affiliated with the American government”.

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