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The global impact of Obama's support for gay marriage

cge-reblog-obama-samesexmarriagePhoto: Pete Souza/AFP/Getty ImagesAs an LGBT rights advocate, I have experienced so many proud moments with our president. Our community in the United States can count a number of major achievements during President Obama’s tenure: an inclusive hate crimes law; the repeal of the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; and the hugely important decision that the attorney general will longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

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Global Press and Organizational Statements on Secretary Clinton Human Rights Speech and the Presidential Memorandum

clinton-un-geneva-hrd-2011Secretary Clinton made a powerful case on December 6, 2011 at the UN in Geneva for why the respect and fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide is of concern to the United States and the world. On the same day President Obama also released a Presidential Memorandum committing the entire U.S. government to support this important human rights agenda. You can watch the speech and see transcripts in English中文FrançaisEspañol, or فارسی http://www.humanrights.gov/2011/12/06/human-rights-geneva/

The following list is a short compendium of the press that the speech and memorandum generated.

U.S. to Aid Gay Rights Abroad, Obama and Clinton Say

 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. Read more. 

Watch Hillary Clinton's Speech Declaring 'Gay Rights Are Human Rights'

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a bold step for U.S. foreign policy (and common decency) by declaring in front of the United Nations yesterday that it is a "violation of human rights" to commit violence or discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation. In a moving speech to the U.N.'s human rights group in Geneva, Clinton tackled many of the common stereotypes leveled at gay people and called on other nations to eliminate laws that criminalize or marginalize homosexuals.

Clinton's Landmark LGBT Speech Shows Importance of Electing Pro-Equality Candidates

Today is truly a momentous day in human rights history. This morning President Barack Obama issued the first-ever executive memorandum dealing with the subject of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights worldwide and directing federal agencies working overseas to "promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons." Later, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a landmark address on LGBT rights in recognition of International Human Rights Day at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Read more.

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LGBT Activists from Around the World React to Secretary Clinton’s Speech

LGBT Activists from Around the World React to Secretary Clinton’s SpeechPhoto: U.S. Department of StateFor this historic moment in the LGBT movement, the Council for Global Equality was privileged to bring 14 prominent LGBT activists from around the world to Geneva to be present for Secretary Clinton’s Human Rights Day speech. The Council applauds both Secretary Clinton for the pitch-perfect speech as well as President Obama for yesterday’s vital Presidential Memorandum addressing the human rights of LGBT people worldwide.

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Council Applauds Clinton Speech and White House Announcement in Support of Human Rights for All

clinton-un-geneva-hrd-2011Secretary Clinton made a powerful case today at the UN in Geneva for why the respect and fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide is of concern to the United States and the world. President Obama also released a Presidential Memorandum today commiting the entire U.S. government to support this important human rights agenda. The Council for Global Equality applauds their leadership.

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UN Adopts Groundbreaking Resolution Affirming that LGBT Rights are Human Rights

IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 17, 2011

Contact: Mark Bromley – Council Chair
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June 17, 2011—For the First time, the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva has adopted a resolution expressing concern at acts of violence and discrimination committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  The text calls on the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a global study outlining discriminatory laws, practices and acts of violence directed at LGBT individuals, with recommendations on how to put an end to such fundamental human rights abuses.  The study will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council next year.  The resolution was tabled by South Africa and it enjoyed strong support from the United States and a broad coalition of voting states from all regions of the world.  It was adopted in Geneva today by a vote of 23 countries in support, 19 against and 3 abstentions.

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UN Adopts Groundbreaking Resolution Affirming that LGBT Rights are Human Rights

un-geneva-flagsiiJune 17, 2011—For the First time, the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva has adopted a resolution expressing concern at acts of violence and discrimination committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  The text calls on the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a global study outlining discriminatory laws, practices and acts of violence directed at LGBT individuals, with recommendations on how to put an end to such fundamental human rights abuses. 

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UN’s Human Rights Council to cast historic vote

United NationsThe UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva is likely to vote Friday, June 17, 2011, on a formal resolution expressing concern at acts of violence and discrimination committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  This could be a truly historic vote.  If it is adopted, this will be the first official UN resolution to focus exclusively on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, and it is the first time that gender identity has ever been included in such a formal UN text.

Watch the live stream of the debate and vote here on Friday, June 17, beginning at 9 a.m. Geneva time (3 a.m. EST).

As currently drafted, the text calls on the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a global study outlining discriminatory laws, practices and acts of violence directed at LGBT individuals, with recommendations on how to put an end to such fundamental human rights abuses.  The study would be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council next year.  The resolution was tabled by South Africa and it has strong support from the United States and a broad coalition of voting states from all regions of the world.

 

The State Department’s Annual Human Rights Report

clinton-hrr2011

A Firmly Measured Response to Egregious Abuse

April 14, 2011 – The State Department last week released its annual human rights report.  Once again, the Council for Global Equality applauds the State Department’s effort to “provide an overview of the human rights situation around the world as a means to raise awareness of human rights conditions, in particular as these conditions affect the well-being of women, children, racial and religious minorities, trafficking victims, members of indigenous groups and ethnic communities, persons with disabilities, sexual minorities, refugees, and members of other vulnerable groups.”  And once again this year, the report bears witness to a clear and growing crisis in human rights abuse directed against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide.

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Millennium Challenge Corporation signs $350 million development assistance compact with Malawi

us-millenniumchallengecorporation-2008logo.svgIn February the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government-funded development institution, suspended an agreement with Malawi, focused on energy sector development, based in part on concerns over a new law criminalizing consensual relations between women. (See news reports here.) MCC has announced that the Compact will now move forward.

The Council for Global Equality appreciates the attention that the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the U.S. government as a whole have paid to this important human rights concern. We note that MCC has made it clear to the government of Malawi that, "Criminally punishing lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals under laws will prompt MCC to initiate the investigation required for suspension or termination of the Compact". (Read the entire press release here.) We look forward to ongoing dicussions with MCC on this matter. 

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United Nations’ Human Rights Council issues joint statement on LGBT human rights

unhrclogoMarch 22, 2011– Today the United Nations’ Human Rights Council issued a joint statement titled, “Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human Rights Violations Based On Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,” calling for an end to violence, criminal sanctions, and human rights violations against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The statement, which was signed by a record-breaking 84 countries, is a positive step toward improving the lives of LGBT persons in communities around the world. The number of countries signing onto the statement increased by 30 since 2006 when the issue was first debated.

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