SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you very much (inaudible). Thank you, and I apologize to all of my colleagues for being a little bit late. I’m sorry about that.
But it is an enormous honor to be part of this event, which is the first of its kind in the history of the United Nations, and I think we should take pride in that. I thank the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, who I visited with in Washington just last week, and all of our colleagues who are here for joining together in an historic statement.
We really do send a clear and compelling message by coming together today, and it’s not just in support of gays and lesbians around the world; it’s really in support of the founding values of this institution.
When the United Nations was formed, the founders declared this purpose: “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, and in the dignity and worth of the human person.” The human person, not one human person, not certain human persons, but the human person, all people. And for too long, with respect to affirming the dignity of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender persons, this organization fell short of meeting that obligation, as did many entities in the world and many of our countries. With our work together over the past several years, we have made almost unfathomable progress in the rapidity with which people have come to break down walls of injustice and barriers of prejudice, really quite stunning. And I think we should all acknowledge that we are living up to, in this initiative and in other efforts that have taken place in the past years, the founding principles of the United Nations, and in many ways, the universal values that organize many of our societies.
For its part, the United States and the Obama Administration is fully committed to this work. I took personal satisfaction this past year when the United States Supreme Court overturned Section 3 of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act – and I say personal satisfaction because I was one of 14 senators who voted against that when it was passed – and that prevented federal recognition of same-sex marriages. That decision paves the way for policies and programs that support all married couples, regardless of their sexual orientation.
We also believe the United Nations is a powerful platform to advance our support for the human rights of LGBT persons. Advancing equality for LGBT persons isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also fundamental to advancing democracy and human rights, which are at the foundation of American foreign policy, and I think the foreign policy of most of our colleagues, if not all of our colleagues here. We all know that as societies become more inclusive, they become better partners within the global community, and they become partners, all of whom are joined together by common values and common interests. Continue reading ‘Secretary of State John Kerry’s Remarks at the LGBT Ministerial Event’