Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday that he supports the Trump administration’s decision not to allow U.S. embassies to fly the LGBT pride flag.
“I’m aware that the State Department indicated that on the flagpole of our American embassies that one flag should fly and that’s the American flag and I support that,” he told NBC News.
It was reported last week that the U.S. State Department, headed by Mike Pompeo, denied requests from U.S. embassies in Brazil, Germany, Israel and Latvia to fly the rainbow flag in observance of LGBT Pride Month.
The LGBT community marks June as pride month in commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, which many say birthed the gay rights movement.
President Donald Trump celebrated pride month with a tweet, recognizing “the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation” but he did not make an official proclamation like his predecessor, Barack Obama, did.
Under the Obama administration, embassies were directed to fly the rainbow flag below the American flag.
The process for approval changed with Pompeo, who became secretary of state last year, with diplomats told that they must gain permission from the State Department, as reported by The Washington Post.
Pence clarified on Monday to NBC News that the Trump administration is “proud to be able to serve every American,” “but when it comes to the American flagpole at American embassies and capitals around the world, having the one American flag fly, I think, is the right decision.”
“And we put no restrictions on displaying any other flags or any other displays at our embassies beyond that,” he added.
Evangelist Franklin Graham applauded the decision, noting that “the gay pride flag is offensive to Christians and millions of people of other faiths, not only in this country but around the world.”
Agreeing that only the American flag should fly, Graham stressed, “The U.S. flag represents our nation—everyone—regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation.”
Just last month, the House passed the controversial Equality Act, which would expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity as well as on the basis of “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”
Prominent Christian leaders have spoken out against the bill, arguing that it poses threats to religious liberty and the sanctity of human life.
"[T]he ideology enshrined in the Equality Act—which falsely equates one’s sexual conduct with immutable characteristics like skin color and ethnicity—is a falsehood that openly contradicts the scriptural mandates we were given for our good (1 Thess. 4:3-8)," said a letter signed by 21 Christian leaders, including Tony Perkins of Family Research Council. "We cannot remain silent and allow this lie to harm countless men, women, and children—whether in this or any other legislation."