Obama Administration Will Use Foreign Aid to Promote Gay Rights Abroad
The Obama administration is announcing wide-sweeping efforts to use U.S. foreign aid to promote rights for gays and lesbians abroad, including combating attempts by foreign governments to criminalize homosexuality.
In a memorandum issued Tuesday, President Barack Obama directed U.S. agencies working abroad to use foreign aid to help gays and lesbians who face human rights violations.
“I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting L.G.B.T. persons around the world,” Mr. Obama said in the memorandum, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, “whether it is passing laws that criminalize L.G.B.T. status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful L.G.B.T. pride celebrations, or killing men, women and children for their perceived sexual orientation.”
He also ordered U.S. agencies to protect vulnerable gay and lesbian refugees and asylum seekers.
“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights,” Obama said in a recent statement.
Speaking before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the White House’s latest campaign-minded initiative.
“Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct,” Mrs. Clinton said at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, according the New York Times, “but in fact they are one and the same.”
The White House said Tuesday’s announcement marked the first U.S. government strategy to combat human rights abuses against gays and lesbians abroad.
It comes as no surprise that many analysts believe that President Obama’s outreach to gays and lesbians, a core Democratic constituency, is part of his 2012 reelection campaign.
Since taking office, Obama helped repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and ordered the administration to stop enforcing a law defining marriage as between one man and one woman. With the 2012 election coming up, he needs to fire up his base.
However, despite this latest attempt to “reach out” to the LGBT community, even the New York Times points out that the Obama administration has yet to explain how, exactly, they will curb human rights violations against gays and lesbians.
“Neither Mr. Obama nor Mrs. Clinton specified how to give the initiative teeth,” writes Steven Myers and Helene Cooper of the Times.
Moreover, Caitlin Hayden, the National Security Council’s deputy spokeswoman, pointed out in the Times article that the administration was “not cutting or tying” foreign aid to changes in other nation’s practices.
“Still, raising the issue to such prominence on the administration’s foreign policy agenda is important, symbolically,” Myers and Cooper gush, “much like President Jimmy Carter’s emphasis on human rights.”
Many, however, would argue against how that turned out in the end.
Probably not the president you want to be compared to . . .
According to the Associated Press, Obama’s directive applies to all U.S. agencies involved in foreign aid, assistance and development, including the Departments of State, the Treasury, Defense and Homeland Security.
Not surprisingly, this proposal has drawn criticism from prominent conservatives.
“President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles,” said Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX).
Furthermore, the directive will most likely prove detrimental towards alliances with some foreign countries. For instance, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is banned and sex between people of the same sex is punishable by death or flogging, probably won’t look kindly on the White Houses’ campaign initiative.
Nevertheless, despite these international concerns, Clinton pushed on with her speech before the U.N.
“In reality, gay people are born into — and belong to — every society in the world,” she said.
In countries “where people are jailed, beaten or executed for being gay,” she called on leaders to leap ahead of their constituents cultural or social mores, if necessary.
“I’m not saying that gay people can’t or don’t commit crimes,” she said. “They can and do, just like straight people. And when they do, they should be held accountable. But it should never be a crime to be gay.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
- ‘Bigoted, Religious [Zealots]‘: High School Senior Allegedly Expelled, Charged With Felonies Over Gay Relationship With ‘Consenting’ Fellow Student 1,035 Comments
- ‘The Daily Show’ Creator Makes Outrageously Offensive Anti-Conservative Joke About Okla. Tornado 462 Comments
- Washington Times Writer: Fox News Scandal Goes ‘Much Deeper,’ W.H. Sitting on Something Top Obama Aides ‘Terrified’ About 436 Comments
- University Will Investigate Christian Professor’s Intelligent Design Class Following Atheist Furor 310 Comments
- See the First Behind-the-Scenes Photos as Beck and Mercury One Survey the Damage in Okla. 251 Comments
- ‘Death! You F**k!’: Bat Mitzvah Chaperone Unleashes Explosive, Profanity-Laced Tirade Against Kids Over Candy-Throwing Incident Read More
- How Can God Let Tragedies Like the Okla. Tornado Exist? Pastors Weigh In 146 Comments
- Is This Video of Pope Francis Performing an Exorcism? Read More
- Boston Cardinal Snubs Irish PM Over Abortion Support Read More
- Incredible: The Moment a Woman’s Dog Emerges from Rubble During TV Interview Right After She Describes Losing Him 224 Comments
- China Sets off What Could Be the World’s Longest Demolition Read More
- Here are the 5 Most Interesting Moments from Tuesday’s Hearing on the IRS Scandal 106 Comments
- Jay Carney Shifts IRS Timeline (Again!) Read More
- Top IRS Official at Center of Political Targeting Scandal Will Plead the Fifth 132 Comments
- Disgraced IRS Interim Chief Now Fully Admits Knowledge of Planted Question (but Did It Reveal a Past Half-Truth?) Read More
- The Incredible Role Facebook Played in the Aftermath of Devastating Okla. Tornado Read More
- Tech Company Demonstrates Remote Disabling of a ‘Smart Gun’ Read More
- Meet the Blind Man Nicknamed ‘Midnight Gunslinger’ Who Has 80% Shot Accuracy Read More
- How a $4.5 Million Network of 181 Sirens Helped Save Lives in Oklahoma Twister Read More
- See the Record-Setting Python a Man Caught With His Bare Hands (and Guess How Much It Weighed) Read More
- Asia stocks rise as Fed official backs easy policy
- Sharks tie series with 2-1 win over Kings
- Arias speaks out about case in jailhouse interview
- North Korea sends leader's special envoy to China
- Early vote points to close race as LA picks mayor
- Pakistani cricket star politician leaves hospital
- Ai Weiwei uses music to mock state power in China
- Egypt TV: 7 security men kidnapped in Sinai freed