In a letter to Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo, 17 Senate Democrats are demanding answers about the
department's decision to ban the flying of rainbow flags at U.S.
embassies and diplomatic missions.
rejected requests from Trump admin, some U.S. embassies fly rainbow
The rainbow flag is a symbol of the
LGBT social movement and is widely displayed during Pride month.
the letter, dated June 13, the Senate Democrats, led by
Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey, assert that the ban is “sending
a powerfully negative message to the rest of the world about the U.S.
commitment to LGBTI human rights.”
While Pompeo last year issued a Pride
proclamation, none was forthcoming this year.
“This community requires our moral
leadership and support,” the letter states. “But preventing the
official flying of rainbow flags and limiting public messages celebrating Pride Month signals to the
international community that the United States is abandoning the
advancement of LGBTI rights as a foreign policy priority.”
Pence calls ban on rainbow flags at U.S. embassies “right
The group of senators called on Pompeo
to provide answers on the ban and why it was implemented.
Senators who signed the letter include
Markey, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.),
Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kamala Harris
(D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Jacky Rosen
(D-Nev.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Cory Booker
(D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Maggie
Hassan (D-N.H.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and
Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
A companion letter signed by 50 House
Democrats also calls on the State Department to reverse course and
lift the ban on rainbow flags at U.S. Embassies.