Speaking to over 1,000 LGBT rights supporters at the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles gala, tonight Vice President Joe Biden said the United States will be a world leader in the fight for LGBT equality. His keynote address, which lasted 28 minutes, outlined the administration’s commitment to stand up for the human rights of LGBT people around the world. His speech comes on the heels of anti-LGBT laws enacted in Russia, Nigeria and Uganda over the last year. Vice President Biden also issued an emphatic demand for Congress to pass ENDA now.
"The single most basic of all human rights is the right to decide who you love," Vice President Biden said in his remarks.
"Vice President Biden's inspiring remarks in support of global LGBT equality represent the latest step from a White House that has made fairness and dignity for LGBT people one of its top priorities," said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Vice President Biden made it clear that he will not be silent as LGBT people around the world are denied their human rights. As we celebrate new victories for equality here at home, we cannot look the other way as the governments of Russia, Nigeria, and Uganda put their LGBT citizens in the crosshairs. HRC is proud to stand with the Vice President because every person deserves their basic human rights, and no one should face execution, imprisonment or violence because of who they are or who they love."
In the last year, three countries have approved legislation that put their LGBT citizens in the path of danger. These countries, Russian, Nigeria, and Uganda, outlawed public support for equality. Nigeria and Uganda have outlawed the work of LGBT advocacy organizations like HRC. In addition, Uganda made same-sex relationships punishable with life imprisonment. After the anti-LGBT law was enacted in Nigeria in January, dozens of gay men were rounded up for arrest. And, in Uganda, as soon as their anti-LGBT law was enacted, a newspaper, the Red Pepper, began publishing photos of hundreds of LGBT people, marking them targets for violence, harassment, and arrest.
In November 2013, HRC launched its Global Engagement Program. The goal is fundamental fairness and equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. HRC is working toward that goal by calling out Americans, like Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, for exporting their hate and intolerance abroad. HRC is collaborating with dedicated advocates across the globe to support their movements’ objectives and grow the global equality movement. And HRC is strengthening its government affairs work, advocating for a strong U.S. foreign policy that supports the human rights of all LGBT people.
Watch Vice President Biden’s remarks at the HRC Los Angeles gala and read the transcript at www.hrc.org/biden.