House Republicans rallied support around a bill aimed at banning LGBTQ Pride flags from being flown at U.S. embassies worldwide as President Joe Biden offered the first acknowledgement of LGBTQ Pride month by the White House in half a decade on Tuesday.
Originally introduced in January, HR 85, more colloquially known as the Old Glory Only Act, seeks to forbid the flying of any flag other than the stars and stripes at all U.S. embassies and consulates. According to Forbes, the bill added three co-sponsors on June 1: Reps. Louie Gohmert, Rick Crawford and Brian Mast. They join other Freedom Caucus firebrands Reps. Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert as backers of the bill.
“The U.S. Flag is the preeminent symbol of American exceptionalism and should never be used as a prop to promote any agenda or political ideology,” said Rep. Ralph Norman, one of the flag ban’s original co-sponsors.
The collection of LGBTQ Pride flags would fall under the bill’s classification of alternative flags. The bill would perpetuate similar bans directed from the U.S. State Department during the Trump administration, which directed embassies that flew LGBTQ Pride and Black Lives Matter flags to take them down. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reversed that policy in April, giving the go-ahead for any U.S. embassy to fly the Pride flag alongside the U.S. flag.
This isn’t the first time a version of this bill has been introduced to the House. Similar bills were introduced in 2018 and 2019, and, much like those measures, HR 85 is a longshot to even make it to the House floor much less pass a Democratically-controlled House.
Pride Flag: Previously on Towleroad
Photo courtesy of Gov. Tom Wolf/Creative Commons