June 28, 2011—Leaders of the LGBT Equality Caucus and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in the U.S. Congress sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Clinton last week welcoming her “leadership in responding to human rights abuses targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals around the world.” Quoting the Secretary’s statement at a Pride celebration last year, where she said that “human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights,” the letter, which was signed by 45 members of Congress, calls for the Secretary “to continue to build on that commitment.”
The letter was organized by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who helped launch the LGBT Equality Caucus in the last Congress, and it was endorsed both by the Republican Chariman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and the Ranking Democrat, Howard Berman (D-CA), who have both taken principled positions to promote the fundamental rights of LGBT communities through their foreign affairs leadership. The letter details many of the State Department’s actions in support of LGBT rights over the past year, and it calls for additional information so that Congress can work with the State Department “to situate this agenda within our country’s broader human rights, public diplomacy and international development priorities.” See a copy of the letter here.
Just this week, the Secretary renewed her commitment at another Pride celebration, where the LGBT employee group at the State Department (Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies) awarded the Secretary the group’s first-ever Equality Award. See her remarks at this year’s Pride event here.