A group of Senate Democrats is pushing back on the State Department after reports surfaced suggesting that officials had denied several U.S. embassies’ requests to fly the rainbow pride flag on their flagpoles for LGBTQ Pride Month.
In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 17 Democrats said they were concerned about the department’s apparent decision to turn down the requests because it indicated that the “Trump administration is sending a powerfully negative message to the rest of the world about the U.S. commitment” to making LGBTQ rights a foreign policy priority.
The letter was signed by top Democrats, including Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).
The senators also expressed concern over the State Department’s apparent disregard for Pride Month, pointing to a New York Times report that noted the department did not issue a public statement commemorating the month.
According to the Times report, the State Department removed Randy Berry as the special U.S. envoy tasked with promoting LGBTQ rights internationally.
In the letter, the senators shed light on the injustices and terror people within the LGBTQ community face around the world, including the deaths of hundreds of gay men in Chechnya and legislation in Brunei that makes gay sex punishable by death.
“This community requires our moral leadership and support,” the letter said.
After reports surfaced about the State Department’s pride flag policy, Vice President Mike Pence confirmed that only one flag, the U.S. flag, should fly on embassy flagpoles.
However, some U.S. embassies, including the ones in New Delhi, Seoul and Santiago, Chile, have defied the Trump administration’s policy and are flying pride flags outside of their offices, along with other shows of support for the LGBTQ community.
The senators gave the State Department until June 28 to respond to their questions about its policies on Pride Month.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.