Hillary Clinton today told an audience of 1500 at the Chicago Harris Theater that the United States must lead the fight for LGBT civil rights worldwide.
Elton John has honored Hillary Rodham Clinton for her work to help those affected by HIV/AIDS at an annual event for his foundation.
NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams last night ran a report on Hillary Clinton’s newly stated support for marriage equality, tracing her evolution on the issue over the years up to her announcement Monday. The story, reported by Kristen Welker, also notes Clinton’s favorable record on LGBT rights at the U.S. State Department (and her interview with The Advocate while serving as secretary). Watch the segment below, and read The Advocate’s Clinton cover storyhere.
Click the header link to watch the video.
Americans for Marriage Equality, a video campaign produced by the Human Rights Campaign featuring prominent Americans who support committed gay and lesbian couples getting married, has gained a powerful voice with the addition of former secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“LGBT Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones, and they are full and equal citizens who deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage,” explains Clinton in the latest video produced for the campaign. “That’s why I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law.”
Clinton’s sentiments in the video underscore the historic speech she made to the U.N. in 2011 when she outlined the United States’s stance on an “invisible minority” and proclaimed a simple, powerful idea: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. She is the last in her family to voice support for marriage equality, with daughter Chelsea Clinton and husband Bill Clinton joining the effort to pass marriage equality in New York in 2011. The former president has also since called for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which he had signed into law while in office.
Click the header link to watch the video.
Gay Rights are Human Rights
Like being a woman, like being a racial religious tribal or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are gay rights.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a speechto the United Nations
Rachel Maddow noted Hillary Clinton’s speech to the United Nations on LGBT rights in her coverage last night.
Click the link above to watch the video.
To the leaders of those countries where people are jailed, beaten, or executed for being gay, I ask you to consider this: Leadership, by definition, means being out in front of your people when it is called for. It means standing up for the dignity of all your citizens and persuading your people to do the same. It also means ensuring that all citizens are treated as equals under your laws, because let me be clear – I am not saying that gay people can’t or don’t commit crimes. They can and they do, just like straight people. And when they do, they should be held accountable, but it should never be a crime to be gay.
Though her United Nations address on LGBT rights in Geneva was described Tuesday by one senior State Department official as “unimpeachably respectful,” the Associated Press reports that some ambassadors appeared less than thrilled by her message:
Clinton’s audience in Geneva included diplomats from Arab, African and other nations where homosexuality is criminalized or where brutality and discrimination against gay and transgender people is tolerated or encouraged. Many of the ambassadors in the audience responded with stony faces and rushed out of the room as soon as she finished speaking. (Read the AP article here via Washington Post.)
Secretary Clinton’s speech followed a memorandum issued Tuesday morning by President Obama, who in a multifaceted strategy directed federal agencies engaged abroad to defend LGBT rights. Both developments follow previous State Department and White House pronouncements supporting the global fight against anti-LGBT persecution.
In her address at the Palais des Nations, Clinton called on all countries to respect the civil rights of LGBT individuals. The Secretary also announced a global fund to support organizations working to protect gay people who are marginalized and targeted with violence (read the story here).
An incredibly well spoken and moving speech by Hillary Clinton to the United Nations on enhancing the rights for LGBT people around the world. The Advocate has posted the video as well as the transcript.
In a Tuesday address to the National Institutes of Health, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized voluntary male circumcision programs and mother-to-child transmission reduction efforts as vital to building the foundation for an “AIDS-free generation.”
Clinton also announced that she had named Ellen DeGeneres as a special envoy for global AIDS awareness. “Your words will encourage Americans in joining you to make their voices heard in our campaign to achieve an AIDS-free generation,” Secretary Clinton wrote to DeGeneres in a letter released Tuesday. “The enormous platform of your television show and your social media channels will enable you to reach millions of people with the strong and hopeful message that we can win this fight.”
In the NIH address, Clinton called for increased voluntary male circumcision as well as more support for antiretroviral medication regimens among those infected — both of which contribute to an “ideal intervention that prevents people from being infected in the first place.” Recent studies have shown that HIV-infected individuals taking antiretroviral drugs are substantially less likely to infect sexual partners.
Debates on whether resources should favor either prevention or treatment are irrelevant to the modern-day battle against HIV, Clinton said.
The secretary also called for dramatic reductions in mother-to-child transmissions by 2015: “We can get that number to zero,” she said.
Any goal of eradicating the virus for future generations will require significant and sustained funding — a clear challenge at a time when global economic crises have contributed to a decline in private donations and government HIV/AIDS funding, which dropped nearly 10% worldwide in 2010 compared to the previous year.
But Clinton called on Washington — as well as nations that have the economic means to adequately fund HIV/AIDS programs but have been unwilling to do so — to make such initiatives a priority.
“In these difficult budget times, we have to remember that investing in our future is the smartest investment we can make,” Clinton said.
The secretary also criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality, saying they are an obstacle to effective reduction in infection rates — a sentiment echoed by many HIV experts.
Responding to her State Department appointment, DeGeneres said in a statement, “I’m honored to have been chosen by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as Special Envoy for Global AIDS awareness. The fight against AIDS is something that has always been close to my heart. And I’m happy that I can use my platform to educate people and spread hope.”
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go look up what ‘envoy’ means,” DeGeneres quipped.
Below, a video compilation of the remarks via Think Progress LGBT. After the jump, full text of Clinton’s speech.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a State Department pride event Monday, said the “historic” vote in New York “gives such visibility and credibility to the work so many of you have done for many years.”
Notes Politico: “While Clinton did not offer an outright endorsement for gay marriage — something still publicly opposed by her boss, President Barack Obama — she did suggest she’s supportive of New York’s new law and she cited the changed vote of one New York Republican who said it was no longer fair for him to treat one set of his constituents differently than another.”
Hillary Clinton has long said she supports civil unions and did not deviate from that position here; her husband, former President Bill Clinton, has come out on favor of gay marriage, though during his administration he signed DOMA.
The balance of Hillary Clinton’s speech is about LGBT discrimination around the world, and what the State Department has done to combat it. It’s worth seeing.
Click the link above to watch the video.
International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
Today, May 17, is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, the seventh annual event to bring attention to LGBT issues in more than 50 countries.
In recognition, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released this statement:
“In every part of the world, men and women are persecuted and attacked because of who they are or whom they love. Homophobia, transphobia and the brutal hostility associated with them are often rooted in a lack of understanding of what it actually means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).
So to combat this terrible scourge and break the cycle of fear and violence, we must work together to improve education and support those who stand up against laws that criminalize love and promote hate. As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this May 17, let us resolve to redouble our efforts.
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am proud to reaffirm our support for LGBT communities at home and abroad, and to call for an end to discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT persons wherever it occurs.
Whether by supporting LGBT advocates marching in Belgrade, leading the effort at the United Nations to affirm the human rights of LGBT persons, or condemning a vile law under consideration in Uganda, we are committed to our friends and allies in every region of the world who are fighting for equality and justice.
These are not Western concepts; these are universal human rights.
Despite these gains and hard work, there is more to do to turn the tide of inequality and discrimination against the LGBT community. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, know that the United States stands with you and we are unwavering in our commitment to ending this cycle of hate.”
The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia marks the day 21 years ago when the World Health Organization excluded homosexuality from its list of officially recognized mental illnesses.
From the State Department:
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY CLINTON
Murder of Ugandan LGBT Activist David Kato
We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home near Kampala yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues. We urge Ugandan authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this heinous act.
David Kato tirelessly devoted himself to improving the lives of others. As an advocate for the group Sexual Minorities Uganda, he worked to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. His efforts resulted in groundbreaking recognition for Uganda’s LGBT community, including the Uganda Human Rights Commission’s October 2010 statement on the unconstitutionality of Uganda’s draft “anti-homosexuality bill” and the Ugandan High Court’s January 3 ruling safeguarding all Ugandans’ right to privacy and the preservation of human dignity.
His tragic death underscores how critical it is that both the government and the people of Uganda, along with the international community, speak out against the discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda’s LGBT community, and work together to ensure that all individuals are accorded the same rights and dignity to which each and every person is entitled.
Everywhere I travel on behalf of our country, I make it a point to meet with young people and activists – people like David – who are trying to build a better, stronger future for their societies. I let them know that America stands with them, and that their ideas and commitment are indispensible to achieving the progress we all seek.
This crime is a reminder of the heroic generosity of the people who advocate for and defend human rights on behalf of the rest of us – and the sacrifices they make. And as we reflect on his life, it is also an occasion to reaffirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons.
Our ambassadors and diplomats around the world will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights policy, and to stand with those who, with their courage, make the world a more just place where every person can live up to his or her God-given potential. We honor David’s legacy by continuing the important work to which he devoted his life.