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Report: Trump administration launches global initiative to end criminalization of homosexuality

Effort said to be partly in response to Iran recently hanging a gay man

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Trump administration is launching a worldwide initiative to end the criminalization of homosexuality, NBC News reported Tuesday.

What are the details?

Openly gay U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell is spearheading the effort, "flying in LGBT activists from across Europe" to discuss the strategy in Berlin Tuesday evening, unnamed officials told NBC News.

"It is concerning that, in the 21st century, some 70 countries continue to have laws that criminalize LGBTI status or conduct," one source told the outlet.

The move comes just weeks after Grenell penned an op-ed in the German publication Bild, condemning Iran's execution of a 31-year-old gay man by public hanging, saying that "politicians, the U.N., democratic governments, diplomats, and good people everywhere should speak up — and loudly."

Grenell called for world leaders to "work harder to demand that U.N. members decriminalize homosexuality."

According to the Daily Mail, the Iranian man Grenell referred to was charged with homosexual relations, which is punishable by death under the country's Shariah law. The Mail reported that an Iranian news source claimed the accused had kidnapped two 15-year-old boys.

Grenell wrote, "This is not the first time the Iranian regime has put a gay man to death with the usual outrageous claims of prostitution, kidnapping, or even pedophilia. And it sadly won't be the last time they do it either. Barbaric public executions are all too common in a country where consensual homosexual relationships are criminalized and punishable by flogging and death."

Anything else?

According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association's State-Sponsored Homophobia report from 2017, there are 72 countries that criminalize consenting homosexual intercourse between men, and the laws apply to women in 45 of those nations.

The study cited evidence that homosexuality is punishable by death in eight nations: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria (in territories held by ISIS), Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria.

One last thing…
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