Posts Tagged 'Mitt Romney'

Will the Candidates Address Issues Impacting LGBT Communities at Home and Abroad in the Upcoming Presidential Debate?

will the candidates address issues impacting LGBT communities at home and abroad?

With two presidential debates remaining before the November 6 presidential election, will the candidates address issues impacting LGBT communities at home and abroad?

  • We’d like to hear the candidates address:
  • Whether they agree with Secretary Clinton’s statement that “…gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”
  • To what degree human rights – including the epidemic of mistreatment and discrimination directed at foreign LGBT populations – should impact bilateral relationships; and
  • Whether, or how, their personal ethics embraces the cause of LGBT equality.

We believe voters should know:

  • How the candidates would respond to countries, like Uganda, that seek to penalize or even kill people who are gay;
  • Whether the candidates believe USG foreign assistance should be for developmental purposes only, or should be used to advance other national priorities, including democratic development and human rights enhancement; and
  • How they would direct USG departments and agencies with respect to using our foreign policy and developmental assistance tools to advance respect for LGBT rights.

Finally, we believe the candidates owe us, and all Americans:

  • A coherent sense of the place of LGBT rights within American foreign policy goals;
  • An understanding of whether they believe U.S.-funded AIDS prevention and treatment tools should target, among other populations, men who have sex with men; and
  • A clear statement as to whether LGBT fairness and equality, at home and abroad, will be a priority for them as President.

The world still respects America’s foreign policy voice. Over the coming four years, one of these two men can do much to impact how LGBT people are treated, at home and abroad. We need and deserve to know whether they are committed to take up that cause.

What to Expect From Romney

What to Expect From RomneyThe 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.

The Republican Party’s anti-gay bias

 Ric Grenell, The Republican Party’s anti-gay biasOp-Ed By Michael Guest, for the Washington Post (Print edition will be published on Sunday, May 6)

Michael Guest, the first openly gay ambassador confirmed by the Senate, was the U.S. ambassador to Romania from 2001 to 2004.

Only Ric Grenell can explain the “personal reasons” that compelled him to leave Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. If his departure was influenced even the slightest by the anti-gay attacks that followed his appointment, I sympathize.

In 2001, when I, an openly gay career Foreign Service officer, was sworn in to serve as U.S. ambassador to Romania, I and many others hoped that the Republican Party’s obsession with demonizing gay and lesbian citizens was at an overdue end. George W. Bush had chosen me, after all, and a secretary of state known to have advocated for “don’t ask, don’t tell” had sworn me in.

It wasn’t long before that hope was shattered. For months I received bags of hate mail, much of it from writers who identified themselves as “loyal Republicans.” A Republican congressional aide called soon after my arrival in Romania to ask whether my partner’s “socks and underwear” had been transported at taxpayer expense. It quickly became clear to me that the organizations that decried my nomination, or even called for it to be rescinded, shared a Republican membership base.

Grenell surely knows, as I do, many Republicans who believe that their party should be more open to gays and more accepting on issues of gay rights. But where are those voices, and what influence do they have? Republican Party leaders continue to allow principles of fairness and equality — so important at the founding of the GOP and, indeed, our country — to be hollowed out. Continue reading ‘The Republican Party’s anti-gay bias’

Republican Presidential Candidates on Equality and Human Rights

Republican LogoIn his speech before the United Nations on September 21, President Obama made clear that human rights are universal, including with respect to individuals who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.  We salute him for having made that point so clearly, and in such an important international venue.

To date, we’ve heard little from any of the Republican presidential candidate front-runners about their understanding of, or commitment to, human and civil rights.  Perhaps the next debate, scheduled for October 11 in Dartmouth, New Hampshire, would be an opportune time to seek clarity.

Our most intriguing questions are triggered by some of the candidates’ past statements.  In August, Rick Santorum used the stage in Ames to express worry about the plight of gay Iranians, for instance.  Can he talk at greater length about how that concern squares with his decades-long opposition to fair laws and policies toward LGBT Americans?

For his part, Rick Perry has equated, in a loose way, our nation’s struggle for racial equality with his policy agenda of cutting taxes.  Surely Americans deserve to have a better understanding of his support for civil rights policies and, indeed, his understanding of what “fairness” means in a policy sense.

And if Mitt Romney believes that “corporations are people,” we’d like to hear him extend his thoughts to the responsibilities that corporations have to protect and advance the equal rights of their real-human workers, including those who happen to be LGBT, in this country and overseas.

More fundamentally, it’s time for all Republican candidates to explain to voters what they really believe about the rights of LGBT people, at home and abroad.  We note, in that regard, that many of the candidates have signed a range of pledges – e.g., to oppose tax increases, stand against abortion, or fight marriage equality for gays.  Which among them would be bold enough to make the following five-point pledge:

  1. All Americans – including those who are LGBT – are entitled to full legal equality and respect.
  2. Equal treatment for all people, including minorities, is central to the concept of democracy that America stands for, and should be included in any diplomatic efforts to advance democracy abroad.
  3. The human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people neither differ from, nor are any less important than, those of straight people.
  4. The United Nations and other multinational structures should give human rights, including those of LGBT people, higher priority.
  5. American corporations should offer LGBT employees and their families the same benefits, obligations, training, and opportunities as those accorded to straight employees and their families, including in their overseas operations.

We believe the debates must shed light on how the Republican presidential candidates would fulfill their obligations to respect and advance equality in this country and abroad.  We hope that Dartmouth will provide a better window into their thinking.


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