Global Respect Act

Filed under: International

H.R. 2491; S. 1172

The Problem

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people around the world continue to face harassment, violence, and bigotry. Seventy-two countries criminalize same-sex sexual activity. That means that more than one-third of United Nations Member States criminalize consenting, adult, same-sex sexual relations. In up to ten countries, same-sex sexual relations may be punishable by death, and so-called anti-LGBTQ “propaganda” laws inhibit LGBTQ advocacy in at least three countries.

What is more, the U.S. Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices have documented hostility toward LGBTQ citizens in every region of the world. These violations include murder, rape, torture, death threats, extortion, imprisonment, loss of employment and access to health care, as well as restrictions on freedoms of assembly, press, and speech.

What is the Global Respect Act?

The Global Respect Act would provide a means to prevent individuals who violate the human rights of LGBTQ people from entry into the United States. The bill would:

  • Require the Executive Branch to biannually send Congress a list of foreign persons responsible for, complicit in, or who have incited extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of human rights based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity;
  • Deny or revoke visas to individuals placed on the list, with waivers for national security or to allow attendance at the United Nations;
  • Require the annual State Department Report on Human Rights to include a section on LGBTQ international human rights, as well as an annual report to Congress on the status of the law’s effectiveness; and
  • Require the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to designate a staffer responsible for tracking violence, criminalization, and restrictions on the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms in foreign countries based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

What is the Current Status of the Bill?

The Global Respect Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) on May 17, 2017 and in the Senate by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) on May 18, 2017.

 

For more information, please contact legislation@hrc.org. Read about other federal legislation pertinent to the LGBTQ community here.

Last Updated: November 6, 2017