US embassy in Vatican flies Pride flag outside its building for month of June

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken gives permission for US embassies to fly the Pride flag outside

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Thursday 03 June 2021 22:09
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The United States embassy in the Vatican has decided to fly the Pride flag for the month of June in honour of the LGBT+ community.

“The US Embassy to the Holy See celebrates #PrideMonth with the Pride flag on display during the month of June,” the embassy wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. “The United States respects the dignity and equality of LGBTQI+ people. LGBTQI+ rights are human rights.”

The embassy also shared a statement from US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on 1 June, the start of Pride Month.

“As we celebrate Pride Month this June, let us not only observe how far we have come in the struggle for the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons, but also acknowledge the  challenges  that remain,” the statement read.

Mr Blinken announced earlier this year that US embassies and consulates would be allowed to fly the Pride flag on the same flagpole as the American flag during “Pride season”.

This authorisation under the Biden administration, which was not a mandate, was announced before 17 May, an international day against homophobia and transphobia.

US embassies have also participated for the month of June, which was celebrated as Pride month within the LBGT+ community.

But authorities have asked for US embassies located in specific locations to not fly the flag out of concern of the potential reaction.

The Trump administration reportedly prohibited the Pride flag to be flown on flagpoles outside of federal buildings, but allowed for the flag to be hung inside.

The announcement of the Pride flag flying outside the US embassy in the Vatican has sparked some backlash among Americans, specifically Catholics, who questioned if the flag was flying outside embassies in locations where homophobia was punishable by death.

“Do we have this flag hanging in Saudi Arabia? Indonesia? Iraq? Or is the Biden Administration’s policy really just meant to provoke the Catholic Church?” one person wrote following the news.

Newsweek editor Josh Hammer called the move a “deliberate, provocative insult to traditional Catholicism”.

At the start of June, president Joe Biden, who is Catholic, released a statement celebrating the month.

“Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity,” Mr Biden stated before calling on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would establish sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in federal civil rights law.

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