The flagpole outside of California's Capitol has a new, temporary addition this Pride month. Usually, it just hosts the American flag and the California flag. But right now and until July 1, the California Capitol is also flying the Pride flag. According to The Sacramento Bee, this was a deliberate choice to counteract the Trump administration's ban on embassies flying the rainbow flag this Pride month.
“In California, we celebrate and support our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community’s right to live out loud – during Pride month and every month,” Newsom said in a statement. “By flying the pride flag over the State Capitol, we send a clear message that California is welcoming and inclusive to all, regardless of how you identify or who you love.”
California state Sen. Scott Wiener, who is also the chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, then made it clear that this show of solidarity came in direct opposition to what's going on elsewhere in the country.
“Seeing the Pride flag prominently flown at the Capitol reminds people everywhere that while some states and the federal government dehumanize LGBTQ people, California stands firmly for equality and inclusion,” Wiener said in the statement. “It reminds LGBTQ Californians that our government is working to move our community forward.”
The context for Weiner's statement is the Trump administration's decision not to allow U.S. embassies around the world to fly Pride flags. While numerous embassies have found ways around the decision — or in other cases outright disobeyed it — this is yet another example of the Trump administration's systematic assault on LGBTQ rights. President Donald Trump tweeted in support of Pride month, but as the Daily Beast noted, his administration's actions don't back up his words of support.
In an interview with NBC News, Vice President Mike Pence was asked about the ban and its seeming conflict with the president's statement of support.
"As the president said on the night we were elected, we're proud to be able to serve every American," Pence responded. "We both feel that way very passionately, but when it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies."
California isn't alone in its effort to rebuff the Trump ban at its own state capitol, however. Colorado and Washington did the same, according to The Sacramento Bee. And while this is the first time that the Pride flag has appeared outside California's Capitol, the flag is certainly no stranger to official flagpoles. According to The Washington Post, the Obama administration directed all agencies that dealt with foreign policy to advocate on behalf of LGBTQ rights, and this included allowing the ambassadors to decide if they wanted to fly a smaller Pride flag below the American flag.
It was a surprise, then, when the Trump administration began denying the previously cursory requests to raise the Pride flag — and many people representing the United States abroad have expressed frustration with it, according to The Washington Post. Unlike the embassies, though, the states don't need federal approval to fly the Pride flag — as California is now showing.