The Council is working to ensure that the U.S. Congress continues to monitor and respond to human rights abuses against LGBT communities worldwide. This includes working with staff and members on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Council will also continue to work closely with the new LGBT Equality Caucus in the House of Representatives to provide briefings and information on international LGBT issues.
- Working closely with Congressional staff, the Council proposed LGBT-related provisions that have been included in both House and Senate versions of the 2010 State Department authorization bill. The bill passed the House and has been reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The provisions would create one or more positions within the Human Rights Bureau to monitor international LGBT concerns; work through U.S. embassies to encourage countries to repeal or reform laws that criminalize homosexuality or consensual homosexual conduct or that otherwise restrict fundamental human rights; improve human rights reporting on LGBT issues, with a new requirement to include transgender concerns; and include LGBT issues in human rights training courses for Foreign Service Officers. The Council is working with the State Department to implement these provisions, regardless of any final action in the Senate.
- Following numerous Hill briefings, the Council worked to secure Senate passage of a bipartisan Feingold-Coburn resolution that condemns the “anti-homosexuality” bill pending in Uganda and “urges the governments of all countries to reject and repeal similar criminalization laws.”
- Based on a policy paper submitted by the Council, Congressional staff have incorporated components of the Council’s approach to foreign assistance reform into key strategy documents that outline a roadmap for foreign assistance reform, such as the importance of promoting marginalized and excluded communities, including LGBT communities, in U.S. development policy.
- Confirmation questions were suggested by Council staff during the confirmation process for senior State Department officials, the Administrator of USAID, the U.S. ambassadors to the UN in New York and Geneva, and to a handful of U.S. ambassadors heading to countries with particularly poor records on LGBT equality.
- The Council awarded its first “Global Equality Leadership Award” to Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin to recognize her leadership in creating the LGBT Equality Caucus in Congress and the willingness of the Caucus to address foreign policy issues.