From signing the Matthew Shepard Act to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Obama administration has taken strides to promote gay rights in the United States. Now, they’re taking their work with the LGBT community international.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Clinton announced that the administration would promote and protect gay rights abroad, by considering country’s treatment of gays and lesbians in decisions about foreign aid. This would create provisions for U.S. agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide assistance to gays and lesbians in foreign nations who are faced with human rights abuses. Additionally, a memorandum issued by President Obama ordered U.S. agencies to protect gay refugees and asylum seekers.
Secretary Clinton’s speech as well as a memorandum issued by President Obama stressed the fact that gay rights are human rights and part of the United States’ efforts to promote the rights of all people.
“Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human,” said Secretary Clinton. “And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”
These powerful statements show strength from the administration’s stance for gay rights and the LGBT community. In a time when more and more states are legalizing same-sex marriage, it is a reminder there are many nations where people are persecuted simply for their sexual preferences. Nations like Pakistan where demonstrations were held against U.S. Embassy’s gay pride celebration, or Saudi Arabia where homosexuality is banned.
Though neither President Obama nor Secretary Clinton made clear the details of how a country’s treatment of gays would translate to their receipt of U.S. foreign aid, the impact of the announcement makes clear the U.S. views of tolerance and acceptance of the LGBT community.
However, the administration is facing severe criticism for this choice. Conservative organizations such as the Family Research Council and Liberty Counsel Action have criticized the move by the Obama administration for forcing immoral and radical ideology of sexuality on foreign nations that adhere to more traditional principles.
As Millennials, we have witnessed significant strides in the gay rights movement within the United States. In the past fifteen years, the LGBT community has grown support in their movement for acceptance and today, there are openly gay men and women in positions of popularity and power across the country. For the first time ever, a majority of Americans are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.
With Tuesday’s sweeping statements from the administration, we may begin to see the movement gain momentum internationally. With growing tolerance and acceptance, we may soon see that whether you are in a middle school in the Midwest or a village in the Near East, you are deserving of the same human rights as everyone else, regardless of gender of sexual preference.
You can watch the video of Clinton’s speech below:
What do you think of the Obama Administration’s choice to consider gay rights before allocating foreign aid?