Conservatives bash Obama for gay rights stand
Conservative groups and Republican White House hopeful Rick Perry wasted no time in panning the Obama administration for its move on Tuesday to stand up for gay rights abroad – the first-ever U.S. government strategy to tackle LGBT human rights abuses worldwide.
In an seven-point executive order on Tuesday, Obama told U.S. diplomats and foreign aid workers to do more to advance rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered persons abroad – a move that promotes U.S. human rights policies and speaks to a key Democratic constituency at home.
“I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world…No country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere,” Obama said in the memo, which will be published in the Federal Register. “I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.”
Obama’s memo coincided with a visit to the White House by pop singer and gay icon Lady Gaga. She was scheduled to meet officials from the White House public engagement office to discuss her new “Born This Way” foundation, which focuses on fighting bullying and homophobia.
Texas governor Rick Perry took time out from his presidential campaign to decry a “war on traditional American values” and termed Obama “out of touch” and “at war with people of faith.”
“Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money,” Perry said in a release. “Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong.”
Also wielding the whip was the Family Research Council, a conservative group.
“It is startling that President Obama is prepared to throw the full weight and reputation of the United States behind the promotion overseas of the radical ideology of the sexual revolution,” said Peter Sprigg, the group’s senior fellow. In the past, Sprigg has called for “criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.”
Gays and lesbians were big Obama backers in 2008 and he is counting on their support for his re-election campaign in 2012.
Joe Solmonese, president of gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, met on Tuesday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other LGBT rights leaders:
“Today’s actions by President Obama make clear that the United States will not turn a blind eye when governments commit or allow abuses to the human rights of LGBT people,” Solmonese said.
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder