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New spending bill would bar State Department from flying pride flag at embassies

PoliticsNew spending bill would bar State Department from flying pride flag at embassies

The new spending bill Congress is rushing to complete would prevent the State Department from flying gay rights or other politically charged flags at any facilities, including U.S. embassies.

Tucked inside the 1,012-page bill, which funds most government operations, is a provision limiting the department only to flying flags of the U.S. and its states, tribes and territories; official government agencies; foreign nations; and POW/MIA or hostage banners.

The move pushes back on the Biden administration, which had ruled that embassies could fly gay rights flags during June, or Pride Month, meant to commemorate gay rights advances since the 1960s.

Some embassies flew the flag for the entire month, though other embassies, such as those in majority-Muslim nations, did not.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also authorized embassies around the world in 2021 to fly Black Lives Matter banners. He made the announcement to commemorate the one-year mark of the death of George Floyd, which sparked a new focus on race, as well as violent riots.

Those flags, too, would be barred under the new rules.

House Republicans had originally hoped to go beyond the State Department with the ban.

They included language in their bills blocking Pride flags at a wider array of U.S. government buildings. But that language was stripped out of the final package that was negotiated with Democrats who control the Senate.

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