U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today delivered what LGBT advocates are calling a historic speech, in which Clinton declared unequivocally that LGBT rights are the same as racial equality and rights for women.
Speaking at the United Nations human rights programs headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in honor of International Human Rights Day — which is Saturday, Dec. 10 — Clinton also announced that the U.S., under the Obama administration, will from now on consider a country’s treatment of its LGBT citizens when deciding on foreign aid for that country.
Here is the full transcript of Clinton’s address:
“Good evening, and let me express my deep honor and pleasure at being here. I want to thank Director General Tokayev and Ms. Wyden along with other ministers, ambassadors, excellencies, and UN partners. This weekend, we will celebrate Human Rights Day, the anniversary of one of the great accomplishments of the last century.
“Beginning in 1947, delegates from six continents devoted themselves to drafting a declaration that would enshrine the fundamental rights and freedoms of people everywhere. In the aftermath of World War II, many nations pressed for a statement of this kind to help ensure that we would prevent future atrocities and protect the inherent humanity and dignity of all people. And so the delegates went to work. They discussed, they wrote, they revisited, revised, rewrote, for thousands of hours. And they incorporated suggestions and revisions from governments, organizations and individuals around the world.
“At three o’clock in the morning on Dec. 10, 1948, after nearly two years of drafting and one last long night of debate, the president of the U.N. General Assembly called for a vote on the final text.
“Forty-eight nations voted in favor; eight abstained; none dissented. And the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. It proclaims a simple, powerful idea: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And with the declaration, it was made clear that rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people.
“It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are or even who we are. Because we are human, we therefore have rights. And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them.