by Delphine Luneau •
Legislation Would Bar Those Who Commit Human Rights Violations Against LGBTQ+ Populations from Entering United States
WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — praised the House of Representatives for voting today to pass the Global Respect Act, an important piece of legislation that holds individuals around the world accountable for committing human rights abuses against their LGBTQ+ populations.
“LGBTQ+ people - wherever they may live - are entitled to live freely, enjoy full equal rights and be free from violence, discrimination and abuse,” said David Stacy, HRC’s Government Affairs Director. “Unfortunately, there are many countries where this is not currently possible. In some countries, LGBTQ+ people face violent persecution and must hide their core identity just to stay alive. By passing this legislation that would restrict people who engage in these terrible abuses from entering the U.S., we can send a message that our country stands with the LGBTQ+ people of every nation and won’t stop fighting for their freedom and equal rights.”
The Global Respect Act would block travel to the U.S. for people who have been responsible for the abuse or persecution of LGBTQ+ people abroad. While the U.S. government already has the power to withhold visas from human rights violators, this legislation would require the State Department to draw up a list of LGBTQ+ human rights abusers, which would be updated twice each year and submitted to Congress.
The primary sponsors of the bipartisan bill are Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) in the House and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in the Senate. The legislation has 74 cosponsors in the House and 9 in the Senate.
LGBTQ+ people around the world continue to face discrimination, violence, and bigotry. Sixty-eight countries criminalize same-sex sexual relations. That means that more than one-third of United Nations Member States criminalize consenting, adult, same-sex sexual relations. In up to nine 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.
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:
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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