Post submitted by Kerry Brodie, former HRC Global Press Secretary
HRC hailed the introduction of the Global Respect Act in the Senate by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The bill would provide a new mechanism to prevent the world’s most anti-LGBT state actors from receiving a visa and entering the United States. The Global Respect Act would make clear to the world that the U.S. is not open to those who abuse, harass, and murder LGBT people.
"Millions of LGBT people around the world continue to suffer unimaginable violence and discrimination under oppressive laws and regimes,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The Global Respect Act sends a clear message to political leaders of these countries that when they violate the human rights of LGBT people, the U.S. government will hold them accountable. This legislation also sends a message to LGBT people worldwide that the U.S. is an ally willing to defend their fundamental human rights. We are proud to endorse the work of Senator Shaheen and the other champions of this important bill."
“While we’ve seen tremendous progress towards equality in the United States, the fact remains that the LGBT community is still under threat both here at home and around the world,” said Senator Shaheen. “No one should live in fear of physical violence or oppression because of their sexual orientation or sexual identity. The Global Respect Act would send a strong message to the international community and a stern warning to those who persecute LGBT individuals that the United States will continue to defend human rights.”
If passed, the Global Respect Act would further empower the U.S. government to use its to aggressively deny or revoke visas of foreign officials who have a significant role in the violation of LGBT people’s rights in their home countries. This would send a signal to world leaders and officials that they cannot persecute LGBT people, seek to travel to the U.S. and expect to be welcomed here. The bill was first introduced in the House in June 2014, and reintroduced in May 2015 by Representative David Cicilline (D-RI). It now has 26 cosponsors.
As President Obama proclaimed in 2011, the “struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.” The Global Respect Act would be a critical tool in the United States’ arsenal in the fight to protect LGBT lives and rights.
This bill could have a major impact on the ability of the U.S. to fight abuses of LGBT human rights throughout the world. For example, in 2014 President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia for implementing new terrifying anti-LGBT legislation. When Jammeh’s forces began rounding up and torturing allegedly LGBT people, HRC called on the U.S. government to restrict entry to the U.S. for President Jammeh and his associates.The Global Respect Act would have the power to prevent Jammeh and his associates from entering the United States.
The situation for LGBT people around the world varies widely. As some countries embrace equality, in others, LGBT people continue to suffer from discrimination, persecution, and violence.
· 19 countries now have marriage equality and in an additional two countries same-sex marriage is legal in certain jurisdictions.
· But in up to 10 countries worldwide, same-sex activity is punishable by death, and 75 countries criminalize same-sex relationships. Hundreds of transgender individuals have been brutally murdered in the last year.
· In a growing number of countries, governments have sought to silence equality advocates and organizations with so-called “anti-propaganda” laws and legislation.
Learn more about how the Human Rights Campaign is taking action and working with allies around the world to make a difference at: www.hrc.org/global.