by Chris Johnson | Washington Blade
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday equated the pursuit of LGBT rights to the pursuit of human rights as she celebrated Pride month with gay State Department employees.
This June, we celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. I join President Obama in recognizing the immeasurable contributions of the LGBT community both in the United States and around the world. In honor of LGBT Pride Month and on behalf of the State Department, I extend my appreciation to all those who work on behalf of human rights for all. At the State Department, USAID, and throughout the Administration, we are grateful for our LGBT employees in Washington and around the world. They and their families make many sacrifices to serve our nation. Their contributions are vital to our efforts to establish stability, prosperity, and peace worldwide.
The United States also recognizes the unflagging efforts and courage of advocates and organizations fighting to promote equality and justice around the world, especially in countries where doing so puts their lives and their families at risk.
Human rights are the inalienable right of every person, no matter who that person is or who that person loves. The State Department is firmly committed to supporting the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals to lead productive and dignified lives, free from fear and violence. We have specifically included the status of the human rights of LGBT individuals in our annual Human Rights Report in each country. We are working to protect LGBT people across the world, particularly those forced to flee their homes or countries. And the State Department will continue to counter efforts, anywhere they occur, to marginalize, criminalize, and penalize members of the LGBT community.
We have made significant progress but we still have challenging work ahead. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face horrific violence and repression around the world. Pride marches are often met with active and armed government resistance. Laws banning sexual orientation and gender expression undermine civil society, the rule of law, and public health outreach. The persecution and violation of human rights of members of the LGBT community is not only an affront to human dignity, but it also diminishes human progress and potential. As Secretary of State, I will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Let us recommit ourselves this year to building a future in which every child, whoever and wherever they are, has the opportunity, dignity, and freedom to fulfill his or her God-given potential.
“Calling for accountability doesn’t start or stop at naming offenders. Our goal is to encourage—even demand—that governments must also take responsibility by putting human rights into law and embedding them in government institutions; by building strong, independent courts and competent and disciplined police and law enforcement. And once rights are established, governments should be expected to resist the temptation to restrict freedom of expression when criticism arises, and be vigilant in preventing law from becoming an instrument of oppression, as bills like the one under consideration in Uganda to criminalize homosexuality would do.”