The Pentagon confirmed Friday it will not allow rainbow pride flags to fly at military facilities in celebration of Pride Month. The fell in line with the Pentagon’s 2020 decision to permit only certain flags at Department of Defense installations.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters the DOD chose not to make an exception to the existing flag policy after careful consideration.
Along with the American flag, the current policy implemented under the Trump administration authorizes flags representing states and U.S. territories, military services, prisoners of war and missing in action, national flags of U.S. allies and a handful of others.
“This in no way reflects any lack of respect or admiration for people of the LGBTQ+ community, personnel in and out of uniform who serve in this department,” Kirby said. “We’re proud of them.”
The flag policy was put into place last July to bar the display of the Confederate flag without specifically referencing it, as NPR previously reported.
Kirby said making an exception for the rainbow pride flag could leave the Pentagon open for additional policy challenges down the road. “This was really more about the potential for — an exception in this case about the potential for other challenges that could arise from that exception,” he said.
President Biden acknowledged Pride Month with an official proclamation earlier this week. Nearly 14% of his federal agency appointees identify as LGBTQ+, he announced.
In 2018, the Rand Corporation estimated that 6.3% of active duty service members identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, including 4.1% of men and 17.6% of women.