Kirby said the decision did not “reflect the respect and admiration we feel for all of our LGBTQ + personnel, both in and out of uniform.”
That left the Pentagon at odds with the State Department, where Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement authorizing US diplomats to fly the same flag as the US flag at the embassy and consulate in April.
The policy, which restricts the unofficial flag that can be displayed at military bases, was implemented in July by Secretary of Defense appointed by Trump Esper. The policy is part of an effort to ban the display of Confederate flags and other hateful symbols on the base amid racial tensions last summer.
Kirby told a news conference at the Pentagon on Friday that there was no formal review of the pre-election policy, but “knowing that June is approaching, we need to work hard and look at the old policy and see if we feel it is still valid.”
He added that “at present,” the defense minister’s belief is that “policy should be maintained.”
The decision not to change the policy and allow the Pride flag to be displayed “from concerns about other challenges to this exclusionary policy may be enthusiastic and encouraging.”
Jennifer Dane, CEO and Executive Director of the Modern American Military Association, an LGBTQ + Veterans Association, and veteran, was disappointed that the department did not change its policy to allow proud flags.
“It’s another statement that our service is not as important as everyone else’s,” Dane told CNN. “It’s a trivial matter, especially during Pride.”
Mr Dane said the Pride flag was a symbol of “diversity and inclusion – something that the Department of Defense should definitely strive for.”
Mr Kirby emphasized that the decision was “made in a way that does not show disrespect or admiration for the people of the LGBTQ + community, staff, both in and out of uniform.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will attend Pride Month at the Pentagon next week, Kirby said in a statement.
Austin “urges all orders to find ways to recognize the services and contributions of the LGBTQ + community in defending this nation,” Kirby said.
The Department of Defense held its first LGBTQ + Pride monthly event at the Pentagon in 2012. Some defense officials say the service will resume this year.
This story has been updated and has more details.