Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gay Rights ARE Human Rights...Obama and Clinton

By Steven Lee Myers and Helene Cooper, New York Times,  December 6, 2011
 GENEVA — The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that the United States would use all the tools of American diplomacy, including the potent enticement of foreign aid, to promote gay rights around the world.
In a memorandum issued by President Obama in Washington and in a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton here, the administration vowed to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalize homosexual conduct, abuse gay men, lesbians, bisexuals or transgendered people, or ignore abuse against them.
“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, “but in fact they are one and the same.”
Neither Mr. Obama nor Mrs. Clinton specified how to give the initiative teeth. Caitlin Hayden, the National Security Council’s deputy spokeswoman, said 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, much like President Jimmy Carter’s emphasis on human rights.
With campaigning already under way in the 2012 presidential contest, Mr. Obama’s announcement could bolster support among gay voters and donors, who have questioned the depth of his commitment. He chose the Rev. Rick Warren, a pastor who opposes same-sex marriage, to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Mr. Obama himself has not come out officially in favor of same-sex marriage. But he successfully pushed for repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prevented gays from serving openly in the military. And the Justice Department has said it will no longer defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
Who said President Obama is not leading? Who says human rights does not include gay rights?
Here is a bold, courageous and visionary announcement for which the world can and will thank the current administration. Of course, the Republican candidates will demonstrate their bigotry in denouncing it.
Of course, the right wing in Canada will denounce it.
Of course the fundamentalists in many world religions will denounce it.
However, truth be told, gays and lesbians are human beings too! Surprise!
And they are entitled to the same rights, responsibilities and privileges as straight people.
Their sexual orientation is not a matter for discrimination. And when the President and Secretary of State both support the position, including all of the U.S. relations around the world, there is a great heft and gravitas to the support for the equality.
Will the Roman Catholic church oppose the announcement? Most definitely.
Will the Christian, Protestant right oppose the announcement? Most definitely.
And both will use the Bible as the support for their argument. And both will ignore the principle of "love for neighbour as yourself" that flows like a giant river through the pages of that Holy Book.
We at the applaud with both hands this announcement, and encourage all public media organs in all countries to do likewise.

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