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.”