Posts Tagged 'Tammy Baldwin'

Tammy Baldwin, Susan Collins, David Cicilline and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Pen Op-Ed “Human Rights Issues Pollute Olympic Spirit”

Repost from USA Today

Host countries should promote tolerance. IOC failed on this principle in picking Russia.

On Friday, the world will come together to open the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia — a celebration of hard work and fair play, social responsibility, and international friendship. Every two years, the Olympic Games bring the world together, regardless of political ideology, to compete in feats of endurance, strength and sportsmanship. The issues that often divide our world seem to be suspended or even temporarily disappear during the Olympics. And instead of focusing on our differences, we come together as a global community to focus on what we have in common and our shared appreciation for our athletes and the games.

Although some individuals or groups have threatened to use the Games as an opportunity to wreak violence, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to organize the Games to promote peace through sport — diplomacy through fierce, but friendly competition. In many ways, the IOC has been successful in its mission, as stated in the Olympic Charter, “to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind.”

The Olympic Games are unparalleled in their ability to bring together people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, and to promote tolerance and acceptance of these differences. Fundamental Principle Six of the Olympic Charter explicitly prohibits “(a)ny form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise.” This principle reflects the basic human right of equality before the law — the idea that everyone enjoys the same basic human rights free of discrimination. Continue Reading

Freedom House lists “LGBTI Victories in the Western Hemisphere” as a Best Human Rights Development in 2012

In an article on the Huffington Post website on December 31, Freedom House listed its best and worst human rights developments of 2012. LGBTI victories were listed as a “Best Human Rights Development” and we agree.

There were several important victories in the battle for LGBTI rights in 2012, particularly in the United States and Latin America. A U.S. president voiced public support for gay marriage for the first time, and three states — Washington, Maryland and Maine — passed laws allowing same-sex marriage, bringing the total number of states with such rules to nine. In addition, the first openly gay woman was elected to the U.S. Senate. In Argentina, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2010, the Senate passed legislation that allows gender to be legally changed without medical or judicial approval, and includes sex-change surgery and hormone treatment in government health insurance plans. The same month, Chile passed an anti-discrimination law that penalizes all forms of discrimination. Although not specifically written to protect LGTBI rights, the measure was spurred by the brutal killing an openly gay man. Even Cuba has jumped on the bandwagon, electing its first transgender person to municipal office. Same-sex marriage is also legal in Canada and some parts of Mexico. Sadly, for all of the progress seen in this hemisphere, the situation for LGBTI people has actually worsened in much of Eurasia and Africa.

You can see the full list here.

Bipartisan Support for Secretary Clinton’s Leadership on International LGBT Rights

Capitol Hill ImageJune 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.


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