Republican bill would ban US Embassies from flying Pride flags

Republicans in Congress are pushing a bill that would ban US embassies from flying rainbow flags in support of LGBT rights.

30 Republicans are listed as co-sponsors of H.R. 6450, which would ostensibly ban the flying of any flag apart from the United States flag from US Embassies around the world.

A Pride flag is raised next to the US flag is at the US embassy in the vicinity of the annual gay pride parade in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on June 13, 2014 (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty)

Although the bill does not specifically name the Pride flag, preventing the flying of the rainbow flag appears to be the primary motive for the legislation, as the bill’s sponsor Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina apparently confirmed to the right-wing Washington Examiner.

The outlet cited ending controversies over the Pride flag as the bill’s purpose, as Duncan added: “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 states it would “prohibit the flying of any flag other than the United States flag over United States diplomatic and consular posts.”

The list of Republicans sponsoring the bill is a Who’s Who of the most extreme and noxious anti-LGBT lawmakers in Congress, with several co-sponsors known for their long records of unchecked homophobic comments.

A rainbow flag is displayed in front of the US Embassy in Berlin on June 13, 2016 as people pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando massacre.

Co-sponsor Steve King has previously compared gay weddings to marrying a lawnmower, claimed evidence for gay parenting is “fake” like global warming research, and tried to ban trans people from peeing in the Capitol.

The bill is also co-sponsored by extreme homophobe Louie Gohmert, who has compared gay rights advocates to Nazis and warned about the dangers of sending gay couples into space.

Gohmert has also claimed churches will be forced to hire “cross-dressers” and “Satan-worshippers” because of same-sex marriage, and argued that gay people should be banned from the military because they would demand massages before going into battle.

Anti-LGBT Republicans have long been infuriated by the decision of US embassies around the world to fly rainbow flags alongside the US flag to mark local Pride events and show support for equality.

In 2016 Jamaica’s Attorney General hit out at the “disrespectful” US Embassy for daring to fly a Pride flag in solidarity with the LGBT people murdered at the Pulse gay club in Orlando.

The country’s Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte had tweeted: “I strongly condemn #OrlandoNightClubShooting but find it disrespectful of Jamaica’s laws to have #RainbowFlag flown here. #MyPersonalView.”

The practice of flying rainbow flags from embassies during Pride celebrations is standard across many pro-LGBT countries. The UK amended its guidance for embassies in 2016 to allow Pride flags to be flown.

key Trump ally previously called for “LGBT activists” to be purged from the State Department.

Marchers hold a banner reading ‘US embassy Riga supports Baltic Pride’ while taking part in the Baltic gay pride parade in Riga, on June 9, 2018. (ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty)

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council had written: “Over the last eight years, the State Department under Hillary Clinton and John Kerry has elevated the promotion of the Left’s view of human sexuality… to the detriment of fundamental human rights like religious freedom.

“I’ve personally heard the concerns… over how the administration has linked foreign aid to the adoption of the State Department’s LGBTQ and pro-abortion agendas.

“To carry out this extreme agenda, the Obama administration has systematically filled the ranks of State with LGBTQ and abortion activists.

“Unless the [Trump administration’s] secretary of state is willing to resist and remove this embedded agenda, the promotion and protection of true human rights, like religious liberty, will continue to languish.

“The [Trump] administration needs to make clear that these liberal policies will be reversed and the ‘activists’ within the State Department promoting them will be ferreted out and will be replaced by conservatives who will ensure the State Department focuses on true international human rights like religious liberty which is under unprecedented assault.”

Perkins was later handed a cushy job on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom by the Republican leadership.