Hillary Clinton declares 'gay rights are human rights'


Hillary Clinton: "Being gay is not a western invention, it is a human reality"

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The US has publicly declared it will fight discrimination against gays and lesbians abroad by using foreign aid and diplomacy to encourage reform.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an audience of diplomats in Geneva: "Gay rights are human rights".

A memo from the Obama administration directs US government agencies to consider gay rights when making aid and asylum decisions.

Similar policies already exist for gender equality and ethnic violence.

"It should never be a crime to be gay," Mrs Clinton said at the United Nations in Geneva, adding that a country's cultural or religious traditions was no excuse for discrimination.

Her audience included representatives from countries where homosexuality is a criminal offence.

Many ambassadors rushed out of the room as soon as Mrs Clinton finished speaking, the Associated Press news agency reported.

In October, UK Prime Minister David Cameron's suggestion that aid could be cut to countries that did not recognise gay rights was condemned by several African countries where homosexual acts are banned, including Ghana, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Last week Nigeria became the latest African country attempting to tighten homosexuality laws, with the Senate passing a bill banning same-sex marriages. Before it becomes law, it must be passed by the lower chamber and then signed by the president.

'Human reality'

The announcement, described by the White House as the "first US government strategy to combat human rights abuses against gays and lesbians abroad", is also being seen as part of the Obama administration's outreach to gays and lesbians ahead of the 2012 election.

The official memorandum does not outline consequences for countries with poor records on gay rights. But it allows US agencies working abroad to consult with international organisations on discrimination.

"Gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world," Mrs Clinton said in Geneva. "Being gay is not a Western invention. It is a human reality."

Correspondents say the new policy could pose awkward questions for US officials formulating policy towards some regular allies and regional powers.

In 2011, the state department's annual human rights report cited abuses against gay people in Saudi Arabia, an ally of the US that bans homosexuality outright.

Afghanistan also prohibits homosexual activity, and the same report found that authorities "sporadically" enforced the prohibition.

In the US, Republican presidential candidates criticised the administration's decision, with Texas Governor Rick Perry saying in a statement that "promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America's interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers' money".

Mrs Clinton acknowledged the US had its own mixed record on gay rights. As late as 2003, some states had laws that made gay sex a crime.

Earlier this year President Barack Obama signed into law a bill repealing the "don't ask don't tell" law and allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the US military.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    Whats all these talk about protecting human rights by the USA? Have they protected the rights of the Black and Hispanic minorities in their own country? Please give us a break and let others live the way they want. Easy-grant all homosexuals greencards to come and live free in your country and let others be;

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    Can't beleive there are so many people saying such statements as ' Sort out your own backyard first' the point is its a positive move towards international human rights development acceptance and tolerance, sides who says they cant sort themselves out whilst making the rest of the world that bit more tolerable at the same time?

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    Until the federal government recognises gay marriage (or civil partnership), they should be exerting energy to become a model for other nations. As a British citizen in the US here with my same sex spouse, we suffer complete indignity each time we pass through customs, I'm unable to obtain a Green Card, and it costs us thousands in federal taxes as I'm denied a married persons allowance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Here we go again. Tired of exporting democracy (as in Iraq or Afghanistan) the USA is now going to export tolerance but by force of economics not force of arms. They would do better to sort out their own country first and leave other countries to sort themselves out. If I (an Englishman) travel to the USA I would have problems taking my partner with me because she is transsexual (M2F).

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    23.Luther wrote

    "what is the American government doing supporting something that God, in the Holy Bible, says is a sin and forbidden?"

    I presume you refer to Leviticus (OT) which also says do not approach the altar if you have a defect in vision. Stay at home spectacle wearers?

    God reveals a little more of Himself as we are able to understand. Don't fix your faith on a point 3000 years ago

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    Hmmm .... sounds great but why do we need their OK for what is already a human right?

    I sincerely hope this is not just a cynical bribe offered to 'developing' nations or an Islam bashing option.

    As some have already said America, itself, is skating on thin ice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    1 Hour ago
    Africans have a lifestyle and this is they way they choose to live.If anyone is not comfortable,he/she have another option,relocate..
    Yeah, because everyone knows Africans have plenty of money to relocate to other countries if they don't want to be persecuted, oh wait...

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    There is an absolute difference between the persecution of gays and minorites, and the general acceptance of gay culture. Self-proclaimed enlightened view tend to be the perogative of however holds them. Certain African countries have more women in government and ministerial positions, does that give them right to lecture us in the UK about women's rights

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    #233: Brianug

    As a heterosexual man, it is also "against my norms" to engage in homosexual acts. So I don't. No one's trying to force me to be gay.

    But what the hell gives me, you, or anyone the right to victimise or judge someone to whom being gay is the "norm"? Why should you force them to be straight if they're not?

    Letting people be themselves won't "sweep away" your right of choice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    Tolerance is a dirty word! The world tolerated the Nazi Regime until they invaded Poland, we "tolerated" the invasion of Iraq upon false pretenses et cetera. Whether homosexuality is a choice or not is irrelevant, you however do have a choice to accept other people's choices and/or dispositions the pace of evolution of cultures is directly proportional to economic conditions. Incentives work!

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    President Obama

    You just lost my vote in 2012

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    So in Rick Perry's world not being imprisoned for your sexuality amounts to "special rights"? Unbelievable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    203: I question your level of knowledge here, how do you support your claim that "you are not born gay"? Really, how is this the case? Please do tell me because as far as I'm aware I've always been attracted to women (I am a women) so I'd be glad to know how you'd explain this other than it being the way I am... naturally... always have been and I grew up under heterosexual influences

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    As an American who has lived abroad for many years (and continues to do so), I have to agree with the comments that imply or outright accuse the United States of hypocrisy regarding it's gay rights record.
    As a gay American, I cannot bring my partner (who is not American) to the United States to live. This must be sorted out at the same time that the US is preaching against gay discrimination.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    Good, and shut up Republicans stop being against human social progress to appeal to your often imbred and backwoods followers. Maybe this will also mean less asylum seekers as well as why should somebody not feel safe where they live because (if your religious) god made them gay (if your not religious) of nature.

  • Comment number 235.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.


    Good job there isnt a GOD then isnt there

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    In Uganda,its against our norms for a person to involve in same sex marriage.Let us suffer without your AID if your aim is to smuggle in behaviors that are likely to sweep away our norms and i know you will be accountable to GOD for your deeds

  • Comment number 232.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    How can the US help other countries with gay rights when the US does have a very good track record with gay rights here in the US.


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