Sec. Clinton: LGBT Rights Are Human Rights
December 6, 2011 by Dan Rafter, Associate Director of Communications
The Obama administration is taking landmark new steps to tackle international abuse of LGBT people.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today said LGBT rights are universal human rights, and compared LGBT equality to women’s rights and racial equality. Clinton delivered the historic remarks in Geneva to an international audience – including some representing nations with poor track records on LGBT rights – less than an hour after the White House released a landmark roadmap calling on all government agencies engaging in foreign affairs to promote LGBT human rights globally.
Clinton criticized nations that criminalize homosexuality or tolerate the abuse of LGBT people. She also said religious or cultural traditions are no excuse for discriminating against or abusing those who are LGBT.
President Obama’s memorandum directs U.S. agencies engaging in foreign affairs to protect human rights and advance non-discrimination – and to assist gays and lesbians facing human rights violations. It is the first-ever U.S. government strategy addressing international LGBT human rights abuses.
HRC President Joe Solmonese met with Secretary Clinton prior to her remarks. Solmonese said of Secretary Clinton’s remarks and the White House memorandum:
“In a remarkable speech to an international audience, the Secretary showed the power of American leadership that calls on the world to live up to the idea that all people are entitled to basic human rights and dignity….Along with today’s memorandum by President Obama, it is clear that this administration will not turn its head when governments commit or allow abuses of the human rights of LGBT people.”
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