Once again, President Obama and his administration are making historic progress in the realm of LGBT equality. Yesterday, the Administration announced a ground-breaking new strategy to engage the rest of the world on the treatment of LGBT people. ( action.stonewalldemocrats.org/page/-/images/2011lgbt_mem_rel.pdf )Speaking in the clearest voice possible, the memo outlines the steps the US government will take to help stamp out discrimination and abuse perpetrated by foreign governments against their LGBT citizens.
To drive home this point, President Obama dispatched his top diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to deliver an address to the member countries of the United Nations. ( In the speech, billed as a commemoration of the adoption of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Secretary Clinton spoke for nearly 30 minutes on the state of LGBT equality around the world. She was passionate, direct, and most of all, she proved that she - and the President - understand the plight of LGBT people.
Consider this passage from Secretary Clinton's speech as a shining example (emphasis mine):
Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same. Now, of course, 60 years ago, the governments that drafted and passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT community. They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups. Yet in the past 60 years, we have come to recognize that members of these groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because, like all people, they share a common humanity.This recognition did not occur all at once. It evolved over time. And as it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always had, rather than creating new or special rights for them. Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.
Do you think any of the current crop of Republican presidential candidates would allow their Secretary of State to deliver words as powerful as these in support of LGBT equality? Would any of the slate of GOP presidential wannabes even consider bringing the full weight of US foreign policy to bear on issues of LGBT discrimination and abuse? If you need any more proof that elections have consequences - and that Democrats are the party of equality - well, this is it.
The nattering nabobs of negativity will always find a reason to complain, but we know the truth - President Obama has built the most pro-equality administration in the history of the United States. As Stonewall Democrats, we are proud of this President and his Administration's record on LGBT equality. That is why we must stand strong with President Obama in 2012 and work to return him to the White House - along with a pro-equality majority in Congress - to continue the historic progress of the past three years.
I am so incredibly proud to be a Democrat. Join me - together we can ensure that LGBT rights are human rights.
Interim Executive Director