The Obama administration sent a strong message on gay rights to other nations. The president announced today the U.S. plans to consider how countries treat gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens when giving out foreign aid.
“I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world,” Obama said in a memorandum. “Whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations or killing men, women and children for their perceived sexual orientation.”
Obama said, “I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed those parallels of universal rights during a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. “Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct,” Clinton said.”But in fact they are one and the same.”
Not many specifics were given on the initiative. Each embassy will receive a toolkit in the coming months. According to Clinton, they “created a program that offers emergency support to defenders of human rights for LGBT people.”
Clinton received a standing ovation for her moving speech. It’s worth a watch.