- Posted December 8, 2011 by
US to Advocate for Global Gay Rights
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the US position on gay rights in the world yesterday. Clinton declared in a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council that the US of A would be tying foreign aid to improvement and advocacy for gay rights. She also stated that America would be using diplomacy and offering political asylum in the nation's push for more equality for gays in other countries.
While it is applaudable that the Secretary is promoting equal rights for those in the gay community around the world, it is equally appalling that gays in our own country are still treated by second class citizens by many including exclusion by the federal government in recognition of gay relationships by bestowing equal rights to those who are in sanctioned unions by their home states.
The Obama administration's declaration that it plans to use foreign assistance, international diplomacy and political asylum to promote gay rights abroad is a momentous step that could dangerously backfire if not pursued with delicacy and an appreciation of how the challenges faced by gays and lesbians vary by nation, human rights activists said.
President Barack Obama, in a memorandum to executive departments, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, during a speech before the U.N. Human Rights Council, issued a coordinated denunciation Tuesday of anti-gay discrimination, stating that equal treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender people was an explicit U.S. foreign policy goal.
A White House official said the moves are the U.S. government's first comprehensive strategy to combat sexual orientation-based human rights abuses around the world. Gay rights groups cheered the actions, noting that gays and lesbians can be arrested, tortured and even executed in some countries.
While laudable, it seems some what for the US to be pushing other countries to provide basic rights to the gay community, while our own government continues to discriminate against gays.
I believe that the issue of sanctioning gay relationships is a state rights issue and should be decided by each individual state. I also believe the reciprocity clause requires each state to acknowledge and enforce legally binding contracts sanctioned by each state in other states. Marriages or civil unions or whatever you wish to call them are in fact legal contracts between two individuals.
Yes, we need to push for the end of people being tossed in prison, killed, maimed and tortured just because of their sexuality. We need to stand up for the sanctity of human life whether that life is gay, straight or bisexual.
But it does seem somewhat hippocritical for the US to be imposing its views on the world when our own nation has a less than stellar record on this issue.
The news source went on to note:
Other activists focused on gay rights internationally were more restrained in their praise. Neil Grungras, founder of the San Francisco-based Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration, which represents gay asylum-seekers, said it was critical for the administration to secure allies on every continent to avoid looking like it was imposing American values on parts of the world that view the West with mistrust or hostility.
Recalling how large demonstrations broke out in Pakistan in June after staff at the U.S. Embassy held a gay pride celebration there, he said that Obama's sincere commitment to improving the gay rights picture globally could inadvertently make life worse for gays and lesbians abroad.
"This cannot be seen as a U.S.-only issue because at the end of the day that would be counterproductive," said Grungras, who was in the audience for Clinton's speech.
In his presidential memo, Obama directed the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other agencies to make sure U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance helps gays and lesbians facing human rights violations. He also ordered U.S. agencies to protect vulnerable gay and lesbian refugees and asylum seekers.
From the Cornfield, while I am ready to support the Administration on advocating for equal rights for the gay community throughout the world, I also believe the Administration should be more attune to issues facing the community within the US of A as well.