Clinton and White House Fight for Gay Rights Globally
Obama directs federal government to ensure U.S. diplomacy includes defending LGBT rights
Speaking before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. would be defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people all over the world. Her speech coincided with a memo from President Obama instructing all federal agencies to do the same in diplomacy efforts.
Said Clinton in Geneva, "Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct, but in fact they are one and the same."
It's still in question whether the mandate has any enforcement behind it, especially since National Security Council deputy spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told The New York Times that the Obama administration was "not cutting or tying" foreign aid to changing how other nations handle LGBT issues. In Saudia Arabia, sex between people of the same gender is punishable by death, and Uganda, where "homosexuality" is illegal, is proposing a law that would provide life in prison for same-gender sex.
Still, when Clinton delivered her speech before the United Nations Human Rights Council, which Saudia Arabia and Uganda are both members of, no one walked out, and she got a standing ovation.
President Obama's memo to directs federal agencies to:
- Combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad.
- Protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers.
- Leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination.
- Ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad.
- Engage International Organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination.
- Report on progress.