President Obama has issued a presidential order to have foreign aid funds used for the purpose of strengthening gay rights around the world.
In a memorandum on the issue President Obama wrote:
“I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world.”
President Obama then added:
“Central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.”
The Presidential order marks the first time that the US Government has used American funds to promote gay rights abroad.
As the New York Times points out, it’s still unclear if nation’s who deny the gay rights fight are sanctioned by the US government.
The presidents memorandum comes less than a week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about LGBT rights during a speech in Geneva. Hillary’s speech came just ahead of International Human Rights Day.
In her speech Clinton says that while gay people are just as likely to commit crimes as straight people “it should never be a crime to be gay.”
Secretary of State Clinton then added:
“No practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us, and this holds true for inflicting violence on LGBT people,” she said. “It is a violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave.”
Directing her message squarely at international communities she said:
“Gay people are born into — and belong to — every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths. They are doctors, and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes,” she said. “Being gay is not a Western invention. It is a human reality.”
Under the Presidents directive the State Department and various other agencies have been directed to fight the direct criminalization of LGBT status abroad, protect LGBT regugees who are vulnerable to their countries anti-homosexuality laws and to provide help to asylum seekers.
According to the decree the U.S. is to respond to “serious incidents” that are threatening the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people outside of the Unites States.
Speaking to Voice Of America Darlene Nipper, Deputy Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said:
“I think it is a fantastic culmination of what is clearly a progressive position on the White House’s part to make a clear stance, and to take a leadership role on these issues internationally and worldwide.”
Not everyone agrees with the Presidents decision Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council says the plan:
“Throws the full weight and reputation of the U.S. behind the promotion overseas of the radical ideology of the sexual revolution.”
While the point of the federal spending overseas was launched because of a Uganda band on homosexuality it also didn’t take long for GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry to jump on the order, noting:
“This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop.”
Mr. Perry then added that President Obama has:
“Mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles.”
No response has been issued by the White House in response to Rick Perry’s message.
Further into his memorandum President Obama adds:
“Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”
The administration has set to the side a $3 million fund which will be used to support civil society and non-governmental organization activists working on the subject.
Regardless of whether you agree with LGBT rights or not, the issues that homosexual people face on a daily basis both in the United States and abroad are a matter of human rights set forth under article 2 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A declaration that the United States has promised to uphold to the best of its abilities.
I leave you with article 2 from the declaration:
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Do you think funds to protect human rights should have been given to protect LGBT individuals around the world?