Impact of administration's gay advocacy worries human rights supporters

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Secretary Hillary Clinton speaks at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on Dec. 6. 2011. Credit: State Department

The Obama administration has come under fire from human rights supporters over a new series of efforts to push laws in favor of homosexuality around the world.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent speech supporting pro-gay laws “waters down the message” of human rights that the U.S. has worked for years to promote, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice Jordan Sekulow told EWTN News.

Clinton delivered a speech in recognition of International Human Rights Day in Geneva, Switzerland on Dec. 6.
Her remarks focused on the homosexual cause but did not mention any international violations of freedom of speech, religion, or assembly, a point that was quick to be noticed by critics.

Repeating her belief that “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” Clinton said that the U.S. must send a “powerful moral message” to the world.

She promised that the Obama administration was making the issue “a priority of our foreign policy,” and vowed that every American embassy would soon be equipped with a “toolkit” to aid their advocacy efforts.

Clinton also announced the creation of a new Global Equality Fund, which the United States has pledged to give more than $3 million. The fund will help civil society organizations manage budget and staff, form partnerships and “use the law as a tool” in promoting the homosexual cause.

In a Dec. 6 interview with EWTN News, Sekulow underscored that legitimate human rights issues  exist in countries that persecute or even execute people based on their sexual orientation.

“But that’s not really what this message was today,” he said. Rather, the speech was an attempt to create a new “basic human right,” he said.

In many areas of the world, fundamental human rights such as “basic religious freedom” and access to education for woman are still being violated, noted Sekulow.

He said that Clinton’s speech should have focused on these issues, on which there is a broad consensus, rather than on “gay rights,” which are a subject of intense debate in the U.S.
Sekulow argued that pushing a homosexual ideology could actually have negative effects in the battle for human rights. This approach, he ventured, could give ammunition to regimes in Africa and the Middle East that say America is trying to impose a moral code they disagree with, causing them to completely reject other U.S. efforts to defend human rights in those regions.

Hours before Clinton’s speech, President Barack Obama issued a memo outlining the first U.S. government-wide strategy for advancing gay legislative interests overseas.

The president instructed all federal agencies that carry out activities abroad to expand efforts to “combat discrimination, homophobia, and intolerance on the basis of LGBT status or conduct.”

The agencies are directed to begin “advancing these initiatives” in their work with foreign aid, development and international organizations, and each agency must report annually on its progress.

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow at the Family Research Council, said that it was “startling” to see the president “throw the full weight and reputation of the United States” behind such a radical sexual ideology.

He called it “unconscionable” that the administration would threaten to withhold aid from poor countries unless they conform to views on which both the U.N. and U.S. are still “sharply divided.”

Sprigg pointed out that homosexual conduct has not been established as a human right by any treaty or widely-accepted international agreement, and said that President Obama should be working to protect “widely recognized” human rights instead of “imposing an alien ideology on other countries.”

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