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White House revokes support for Stonewall Inn rainbow flag ceremony

Joseph McCormick October 11, 2017

The White House has revoked support for a rainbow flag ceremony at the historic Stonewall Inn.

The National Parks Service had been set to make a historic appearance at the Stonewall National Monument in order to raise the rainbow flag.

President Obama dedicated the Stonewall National Monument in June 2016.

The event had been scheduled for noon on Wednesday and would have been the first time the rainbow flag would have flown over federally funded land.

It would have also been the first time the NPS had been responsible for the care of such a symbol.

But the Trump Administration pulled the plug, as the NPS withdrew from the event at the last minute.

It also gave up responsibility for maintaining the flagpole and its flag. Instead it will be managed by the City of New York.

As well as abdicating its responsibility for the flag, the NPS also removed the map of the Stonewall National Monument from its website.

Staff from the NPS would have attended, but Barbara Applebaum the Chief of Interpretation, Education and Visitor Services pulled out of speaking, saying she had a “scheduling conflict”.

The Interior Department was ordered by Trump in April to review all landmark designations made in the past 20 years “to discern whether they are within the law’s intent.”

According to the NPS, which defended its decision to pull out, the confusion comes down to a jurisdiction issue.

“The flagpole is not on federal property. It’s a separate monument to the first person killed in the Civil War. It has never been part of the Stonewall National Monument, although it is located there. The flagpole is not managed by the Park Service. We gifted the flag to New York City Parks,” a spokesperson said.

But the move has been seen as part of a wider distance growing between the White House and anything LGBT+ related.

RELATED: Trump ditches White House LGBT Pride Month celebrations

The news comes as President Trump is to address the conference of a recognised anti-LGBT hate group.

Trump will speak at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, DC on Friday.

He will become the first president to address the gathering, run by an organisation classed as a “hate group”.

The event hosts a coalition of white supremacists, far right activists and religious extremists among its attendees.

Trump spoke at the event, run by the Family Research Council (FRC), as a presidential candidate in 2016, but no former president has appeared at the event.

Among the other speakers is former Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson who has said he wants to “rid the Earth” of “wicked” gays.

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has said he doesn’t know whether or not gays and lesbians should be put to death, will also be addressing the event.

Roy Moore

Moore, now backed by Trump, was recently removed as a state supreme court justice for instructing state employees to ignore the US Supreme Court ruling in favour of marriage equality.

In addition, Moore also has ties to an extremist pastor who has called for gay people to be put to death.

CNN reports that Moore has appeared multiple times on a radio show hosted by pastor Kevin Swanson, who is known for preaching that gay people must be stoned to death.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Another LGBT rights opponent Trump will be speaking alongside is Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip.

Four months ago, Republican congressman Steve Scalise had his life saved by a heroic lesbian police officer.

Now fully recovered from the attack, one of Scalise’s first actions on his return to action will be to give a speech to the Family Research Council next week.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 27: U.S. Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner listens as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during an event in the East Room of the White House recognizing the first responders to the June 14 shooting involving Congressman Steve Scalise July 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Scalise was among four people shot by James Hodgkinson during a congressional baseball team practice. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Getty)

The Southern Poverty Law Centre lists FRC as an extremist group with an anti-LGBT ideology.

Its own website in 2016 said: “Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed.

“It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects.”

Tony Perkins, the FRC’s president, said that Scalise’s return to health was not down to the brave actions of a lesbian police officer, but “an answer to prayer.”

“His fighting spirit in overcoming the odds is a source of inspiration for those who are fighting for the heart and soul of our nation and our culture.

“I look forward to welcoming my friend and former colleague back to the Values Voter stage.”

Perkins once speculated that flooding was God’s punishment for homosexuals.

However, when his own home was destroyed in what he called a flood “of near biblical proportions,” the homophobic pastor insisted it happened because of God’s love.

More: Donald Trump, Family Research Council, hate group, LGBT, US, values voters summit

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