US Will Use Foreign Aid to Push Gay Rights

Marks government's first push for LGBT rights abroad: White House
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 6, 2011 2:53 PM CST
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gives a speech on human rights issues, focusing on gay rights, in Geneva Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
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(Newser) – President Obama has ordered US agencies abroad to use foreign aid to fight for gay rights. "I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world," Obama wrote in a memorandum, calling the effort "central to the United States' commitment to promoting human rights," the AP reports. It's the first time the US government has taken steps to promote gay rights abroad, the White House says. It's unclear, however, whether it means that nations which discriminate will see their aid cut off, notes the New York Times.

Hillary Clinton discussed the issue in a speech in Geneva ahead of International Human Rights Day this week, noting that while gay people may commit crimes "just like straight people," "it should never be a crime to be gay." Rick Perry was quick to jump on the decision, which follows renewed parliamentary debate in Uganda over a ban on homosexuality. "This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop," the GOP candidate said.

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