Congressional Republicans want to make flying the rainbow flag at U.S. embassies illegal. Republicans have introduced a bill in the House Foreign Affairs Committee which would “prohibit the flying of any flag other than the United States flag over United States diplomatic and consular posts, and for other purposes.”
The effort is being led by House Republican Jeff Duncan of South Carolina. LGBTQnation.com noted a statement by Rep. Duncan’s office, “The United States flag is the single greatest symbol of freedom the world has ever known, and there’s no reason for anything but Old Glory to be flying over our embassies and posts around the globe.”
The bill is being seen by many as targeting the LGBTQ flag because no other flag is specifically mention. Additionally, Pinknews notes that the bill has 30 co-sponsors and is very popular amongst Republicans with anti-LGBTQ records.
Many of the co-sponsors of the bill, such as Rep. Steve King and Louie Gohmer have made very homophobic comments in the past.
The practice of having US embassies fly the rainbow flag began in 2014 for International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. The Obama Administration used U.S. embassies in an effort to encourage other nations to stand up against homophobia. The effort included sending out openly gay ambassadors to help advance gay rights across the globe. President Obama’s efforts were met with both, praise and criticism.
The plan to ban the rainbow flag from being flown at U.S. diplomatic posts may worry those who still live in countries that have not come around to gay rights. Many LGBTQ people live in countries where being gay is outright illegal, and the death penalty is a potential punishment.
If these Congressional Republicans get there way, it could send a signal to LGBTQ people abroad that America is no longer their ally. Although, it is doubtful that the Democrats won’t push back, they are still the minority party. One thing that is for certain is that the LGBTQ community and their allies will be marching to the polls in November.