President Obama issues memorandum on protecting LGBTs abroad

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Four days in advance of  Human Rights Day on Saturday, Dec. 10,  President Barack Obama today issued a presidential memorandum “to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” according to a statement just released by the White House press office.

The statement sent out by the White House includes these comments by the president:

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.  I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.  That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, “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.”  Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.  Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”

The memorandum from Obama directs agencies to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad; engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination, and report on progress.

I give the president credit for issuing the memorandum at the same time he’s gearing up for what will likely be a tough re-election campaign during which opponents will no doubt use his stance and actions on LGBT issues against him. But I still have to point out that we as LGBT people still face discrimination and inequality right here in the good old U.S.-of-A:

• Our marriages are legally recognized at the federal level and they aren’t recognized in the VAST majority of state and local jurisdictions. We want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed and local and state ordinances and constitutional amendments prohibiting recognition of our relationships need to be overturned.

• There is still no federal protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/gender expression and gender identity. Congress needs to pass — the president needs to sign — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

• Even though there is now a federal hate crimes law that includes LGBT people, as well as similar laws at many state and local levels, those laws are not well enforced.

Anti-LGBT bullying remains a deadly problem in our schools and our workplaces and on the Internet. We’ve made progress in combating such bullying, but not nearly enough. Dedicate the resources necessary to address the issue effectively.

So let’s applaud our president for the steps he has — and is — taking. There’s no doubt Obama has been more open than any other president about addressing LGBT issues and we have seen great strides forward toward equality during his administration. But there’s a long way to go yet, and we need to make sure that the president — and all our elected officials — know they can’t just rest on their laurels.

—  admin

United Nations Restores Resolution Condemning Executions Of Gays

Last month a coalition of Arabic and African nations succeeded in removing a reference to sexual orientation in a United Nations resolution condemning the unjustified executions of minority groups. Today at the urging of the United States, that reference was restored by a vote 93-55, with 27 abstentions.

Boris Dittrich, director of the gay rights program at Human Rights Watch, said he was “relieved” by the vote. “The resolution does justice to gays, lesbians and transgender people in countries where they are targeted for assaults and killings,” Dittrich said. “Hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity must be countered just like hate crimes on the basis of race or religion.” Mark Bromley, of the Washington-based Council for Global Equality, called the vote “an important victory.” Rights groups worked ahead of the vote to lobby countries that had abstained earlier in hopes of getting them to approve a U.S.-sponsored amendment to restore the words “sexual orientation.” Colombia and South Africa were among the countries they persuaded to approve the amendment.

I find it curious that South Africa, a country with legalized same-sex marriage, was one of the holdouts in the first vote.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

U.S. To Attempt To Restore United Nations Resolution Against Gay Executions

Last month a coalition of African and Arabic nations forced the deletion of “sexual orientation” from a United Nations resolution condemning the “extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions” of certain classes of people. Next week the United States will attempt to have that phrase restored.

Speaking at a panel on Human Rights Day, US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said she was “incensed” at the vote. “We are going to fight to restore the reference to sexual orientation,” she said. “We’re going to stand firm on this basic principle. And we intend to win.” The vote on this resolution is expected to come up in the General Assembly on 20 December 2010. The resolution, which the UN votes on every two years, has contained a reference to lesbian and gay people since 1999. It condemns extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions and other killings. It still includes references to a variety of other groups, such as human rights defenders, religious and ethnic minorities and street children.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

We appreciate your heart, Maggie. Now stop messing with people’s minds/rights/marriages/shared nations!

Maggie just left this comment on the NOM Blog:

Screen Shot 2010-10-01 At 1.23.39 Pm

[SOURCE]

First and foremost: I totally believe her. I think the vast majority of us know that Maggie Gallagher does not wish harm, much less death, on anyone. In fact, I don’t believe that she even wishes mental anguish on anyone, having truly bought into the talking points from her movement which detach the actions from any kind of hurtful intent.

But here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter what Maggie personally thinks about what will or will not resolve tragedies like the ones we’ve seen this week. It doesn’t matter how heartfelt her personal condolences may be. What matters is the body of her professional work with NOM and elsewhere, and the fallout that we gay folk all-too-well know can stem from these “culture war” activities! Because it is this bias cultivation that changes the molecules in the air. It’s this anti-civil rights work that puts heterosexism into everyone’s psyches. It’s this fear-fostering that foments a world where LGBT people are viewed as different, wrong, or in some extreme cases – unworthy of life.

The thing about loose lips: They can sink ships. So too, loose interpretations of who was and was not born into the right sexuality!

The reality is that none of us have ever grown up in a world where the full population is free to live as they were formed. A very big and undeniable reason for this is the far-right’s “culture war” against gay people’s lives and loves. A “culture war” that Maggie Gallagher has been a part of for decades now. This writer knows: I’ve read through her archives more than just about anyone. I’ve seen the stigmatizing comments, like in 2001 when she referred to homosexuality as a “sexual dysfunction” whose reparative therapy deserves research dollars:

5/14/2001, Maggie uses Dr. Robert Spitzer’s study in a way that goes against his own wishes and findings:I believe there is rather powerful evidence that human beings are a two-sex species, designed for sexual rather than asexual reproduction. If this is true, then the absence of desire for the opposite sex represents, at a minimum, a sexual dysfunction much as impotence or infertility. Human beings seeking help in overcoming sexual dysfunctions deserve our respect and support (and may I mention, President Bush, more research dollars?).” [Source]

Or in ’00, when she presented gays as abnormal members of the species:

3/20/2000, Maggie defends Dr. Laura:In a simple biological framework abstracted from all religion and morality, homosexuality is like infertility. It is a sexual disability preventing certain individuals from participating in the normal reproductive patterns of the human species.” [Source]

And of course there’s all the modern day stuff with NOM, where she’s pointedly told gay people that they “can always control” their “unfortunate” behavior:

8/9/10:



*AUDIO SOURCE: In The Market with Janet Parshall — 8/9/10 [Moody Radio]

Or there’s the pure callousness that comes with “humorously” likening gay people to castrated domestic cocks:

(click to play audio clip)

[*SOURCE: Iowa's WHO radio, Jan Mickelson's show]

I’ve heard and seen so much from Ms. Gallagher. Much more than I’ve ever even published. Did Tyler Clementi also experience it? Did Raymond Chase? Did Seth Walsh? Did Asher Brown? Did Billy Lucas?

Well, I of course don’t know how familiar any of these five young men were with Ms. Gallagher or NOM. But again: Their personal familiarity with this one “culture war” person doesn’t matter! Because what I do know without a shred of doubt is that all five were familiar with the ol’ fashioned mental torture that the “pro-family” community so aggressively fosters (sometimes unwittingly, sometimes not so much). And I know that when given the choice of fostering civil peace, Ms. Gallagher instead chose to defend exclusion. That certainly didn’t help matters.




Good As You

—  John Wright

NJ GOP Rep. Chris Smith Works To Block LGBT Rights Group At United Nations

The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has long been attempting to gain recognition as a consulting group with the United Nations, a status which would grant them access and the ability to comment officially on critical LGBT issues such as the murder and imprisonment of LGBT people around the world. In June, IGLHRC’s recognition was blocked by Egypt “on behalf of all African nations.”

After the U.S. delegation promised to pressure the UN on IGLHRC’s behalf, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) vowed to stop them. Smith, who voted against the Matthew Shepard Act and other LGBT rights laws, says IGLHRC plans to muzzle anybody who preaches that homosexuality is immoral. He wrote the UN a lengthy letter demanding that they again decline IGLHRC’s application.

Backing up Rep. Smith is the Christianist outfit Family Watch International, who has launched a petition campaign to the United Nations.

The IGLHRC is already pressuring a number of UN member states to change their laws to advance sexual rights. When the application was put on hold, the U.S. reacted very aggressively and announced that it was planning to take an unprecedented move to bypass the UN Committee on NGOs and go directly to the full ECOSOC body to try to ram the approval through. This has never been done before, and it has caused quite a stir among the UN delegations of many of the developing nations around the world. So we have a situation where the Obama administration is again putting support for the radical homosexual agenda above virtually all other considerations. In light of what this administration is doing domestically, we should not be surprised, but in this case, the United States government’s almost obsessive quest to advance sexual rights has been exposed to the whole world, and this should concern every American.

Once again, the American Christianist right is actively working to enable the murder, abuse, and imprisonment of LGBT people outside the United States.

VIDEO: Below is a history of the work IGLHRC has done for the last 20 years.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright