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VP Pence defends decision rejecting embassies' requests to fly Pride flag

Pence said only 'one flag should fly' on the flagpole of American embassies.
Credit: U.S. State Department
A rainbow pride flag is flown on a pole below the U.S. flag outside the U.S. embassy in Vienna, Austria.

Vice President Mike Pence is defending the Trump administration's decision to reject requests from U.S. embassies to fly the pride flag in June, the LGBTQ Pride Month, explaining in an interview that only "one flag should fly" on embassy flagpoles. 

“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," Pence told NBC News' Kristen Welker. 

When asked whether that decision runs counter to the president's tweet celebrating Pride Month, Pence said he and Trump are "proud to serve every American." 

"But when it comes to the American flagpole, at American embassies, in 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." 

Some embassies had still been finding ways to display the Pride flag recently. 

The U.S. embassy in Vienna, Austria, flew it below the U.S. flag on a pole in May to recognize International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). The embassy in Chile did the same, posting about it on its website with multiple photos. It was not clear if the flagpoles they were displayed on were designated the official flagpoles.

The embassy in New Delhi, India, is lit up in rainbow-colored lights. An image is displayed as the cover photo on the India embassy's Twitter account.

The embassy in Seoul, South Korea, raised a large Pride Flag that partially covered the facade.

Same goes for the embassy in Chennai, India. Its YouTube page even posted a video promoting the display.

It's unclear if the embassies flying the flag on poles reached out for permission, NBC News reported.

A State Department spokeswoman also told NBC News Monday that its Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's position that "as it relates to the flagpole that only the American flag should be flown there." 

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