The Council for Global Equality has urged elected representatives and their staff from both major political parties to stand against LGBT human rights abuse and support LGBT-fair policies around the world. With the Republican Party now poised to nominate its presidential candidate, we address that appeal to Governor Romney.
Over the past four years, President Obama and his Administration have offered unprecedented support for LGBT human rights abroad:
- The President has spoken out forcefully against anti-gay legislation pending in Uganda; his Administration has registered U.S. concerns about anti-LGBT discrimination and actions in countries ranging from Senegal, Cameroon, and Malawi to Lithuania, Honduras and Iraq.
- The State Department’s annual human rights reports now give equal attention to the difficulties faced by LGBT people in every corner of the world.
- New funding streams have been opened to support LGBT civil society organizations in troubled areas of the world.
- The plight of LGBT refugees is being addressed.
- Transgender Americans now can amend passport gender markers with greater dignity, while passport and birth report forms to be filed by gay and lesbian parents have been made more inclusive.
- Secretary Clinton has spoken directly before an important human rights body about the need for the international community to address the issue of LGBT fairness more squarely.
- And President Obama has directed all foreign affairs agencies to ensure that LGBT populations are integrated, where appropriate, into our foreign assistance programs and policies.
Through these actions, the Obama Administration has reaffirmed that no minority, in any country, is immune from international standards of human rights protections, and that America will stand for fairness for all people, including LGBT populations, as part of its foreign policy. In doing so, it has drawn from America’s principles of equality, fairness, and justice – principles that are part of our national conscience and discourse.
We’ve heard little from Governor Romney about human rights – or, indeed, about how he would approach the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people within his prospective human rights policy. We hope he will speak to these issues in the remaining course of his campaign, and that he will show leadership in ensuring that defending LGBT human and civil rights is a point of national unity, not one of political division.