Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement on Monday apologizing for past discrimination against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community at the State Department.
“On behalf of the Department, I apologize to those who were impacted by the practices of the past and reaffirm the Department’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion for all our employees, including members of the LGBT community,” the statement reads.
Kerry said that he has stood “strongly in support” of the LGBT community throughout his term in office, though he recognized that has not always been the case.
“In the past – as far back as the 1940s, but continuing for decades – the Department of State was among many public and private employers that discriminated against employees and job applicants on the basis of perceived sexual orientation, forcing some employees to resign or refusing to hire certain applicants in the first place,” the statement reads. “These actions were wrong then, just as they would be wrong today
Kerry’s statement came just weeks after Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland sent a letter to Secretary Kerry asking for a formal apology for hundreds of firings that occurred during the so-called lavender scare, a Cold War effort to rid the State Department of gays and lesbians.
In a Nov. 29 letter, Cardin wrote: “There is little we can do to undo the hurts and wrongs of the past. But we can take steps to assure that the lessons of these episodes are learned and remembered, and in so doing make a contribution to assuring that such injustice will never transpire again.”
“Most people probably assumed that America already had an ambassador for homosexuality: it’s called the Obama administration. But now, Secretary John Kerry wants to make it official by creating a permanent position in the State Department devoted entirely to strong-arming other countries into embracing his view of homosexuality. In another major U-turn from the Bush years, the Obama administration is adding a full-time, taxpayer-funded, openly gay diplomat to the payroll whose sole purpose will be forcing the President’s radical social agenda on reluctant countries. Like Hillary Clinton before him, Kerry has turned the State Department into a satellite office of the Human Rights Campaign, where the only goal seems to be exporting homosexual extremism to a world preoccupied by far more important issues.” – GOP backed Family Research Council hate group leader Tony Perkins
Tony says U-turn from the Bush years like it’s a bad thing?
In a bold move Monday the U.S. State Department condemned the decision by Gambia’s president to approve a law imposing life imprisonment for homosexual acts.
“We are dismayed by President Jammeh’s decision to sign into law legislation that further restricts the rights of L.G.B.T. individuals and are deeply concerned about the reported arrests and detention of suspected L.G.B.T. individuals in Gambia,” said State department Director of Press Relations Jeff Rathke.
The atatement came after concerned were risen over reports of a recent arrests targeting at least four men, a 17-year-old boy and nine women accused of committing homosexual acts.
The suspects are the first to be arrested since the new law went into effect Oct. 9, the day President Yahya Jammeh signed it. Amnesty International last week accused Gambian security forces of resorting to beatings and the threat of rape and other abuses if they did not confess.
Homosexual acts were already punishable by up to 14 years in prison before Gambian lawmakers passed a bill in August punishing “aggravated homosexuality” with life in prison.
Suspects can also be charged with aggravated homosexuality for engaging in homosexual acts with someone who is under 18, disabled or who has been drugged
Jammeh, one of Africa’s most vocal anti-gay leaders, has also been criticized for other rights abuses, including allowing the execution of nine people by firing squad in 2012
Ugandan President Idi-Amin Dada II Museveni has signed the bill penalizing homosexuality with life imprisonment into law today, the Ugandan Observer reports:
The president was in combative mood in a speech after the signing and while answering questions from journalists. He suggested that the law was made necessary by arrogant western groups promoting a behaviour that threatens Ugandans’ “way of life”.
The signing, which was delayed by more than three hours, has been condemned internationally, but was hugely anticipated by many Ugandans.
The president, who first launched Galaxy International School at Lubowa, Entebbe road, signed the law at around 1:50pm East African time.
Before signing, the president identified three categories of gay people – recruiters, exhibitionists and mercenaries.
The president suggested he could not to understand how men could fail to be attracted to Uganda’s beautiful women and, instead, get attracted to fellow men. The president also paraded the mostly Ugandan scientists who concluded that homosexuality wasn’t generic.
Shortly after Museveni signed the bill the Secretary of State John Kerry, issued the following press release by the State Department.
“This is a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights. Ultimately, the only answer is repeal of this law. The United States is deeply disappointed in the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. For the four years since the bill was introduced, we have been crystal clear that it blatantly violates human rights obligations that Uganda’s Human Rights Commission itself has recognized are enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution. Today’s signing threatens a dangerous slide backward in Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and a serious threat to the LGBT community in Uganda.
“We are also deeply concerned about the law’s potential to set back public health efforts in Uganda, including those to address HIV/AIDS, which must be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner in order to be effective. As President Obama stated, this legislation is not just morally wrong, it complicates a valued relationship. Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values.
“From Nigeria to Russia and Uganda, we are working globally to promote and protect the human rights of all persons. The United States will continue to stand against any efforts to marginalize, criminalize, and penalize vulnerable persons in any society.”
It is time for us to do our due diligence and pressure our government to halt all aid to this hell-hole and do our best to expose Scott Lively, LaBarbera and all the other “Christian” leaders who go abroad to specifically spread this hate. It is time that these stories reach the mainstream media outlets and escape the gay media bubble.
The U.S. State Department today issued an updated travel advisory for Americans planning to attend the Sochi Olympics. And while the State Department states it is is presently unaware of any threat specifically aimed at Americans, the message did include a special (and vague) warning to LGBT travelers.
MEDICAL CARE: The Olympics are the first large-scale event to be held in Sochi and medical capacity and infrastructure in the region are untested for handling the volume of visitors expected for the Olympics. Medical care in many Russian localities differs substantially from Western standards due to differing practices and approaches to primary care. Travelers should consider purchasing private medical evacuation and/or repatriation insurance.
TERRORISM: Large-scale public events such as the Olympics present an attractive target for terrorists. Russian authorities have indicated that they are taking appropriate security measures in Sochi in light of this. Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage takings, continue to occur in Russia, particularly in the North Caucasus region. Between October 15 and December 30, 2013, there were three suicide bombings targeting public transportation in the city of Volgograd (600 miles from Sochi), two of which occurred within the same 24-hour period. Other bombings over the past 10-15 years occurred at Russian government buildings, airports, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, and residential complexes. There have also been large-scale attacks on public transportation including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights, in the same time period.
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) ISSUES: In June 2013, Russia’s State Duma passed a law banning the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors. The U.S. government understands that this law applies to both Russian citizens and foreigners in Russia. Russian citizens found guilty of violating the law could face a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($3,100). Foreign citizens face similar fines, up to 14 days in jail, and deportation. The law makes it a crime to promote LGBT equality in public, but lacks concrete legal definitions for key terms. Russian authorities have indicated a broad interpretation of what constitutes “LGBT propaganda,” and provided vague guidance as to which actions will be interpreted by authorities as “LGBT propaganda.” LGBT travelers should review the State Department’s LGBT Travel Information page.
“provided vague guidance as to which actions will be interpreted by authorities as ‘LGBT propaganda.’”?
Should read: “Gay people have been arrested and violently attacked by the police and Russian citizens for holding hands in this grotesque, anti-freedom fascist, Nazi wannabe, barbarian country.”
Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokesperson, said during a daily briefing Monday that Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson met with high-profile leaders in Uganda “over the weekend” and raised concerns about the bill, which among other things would punish homosexual acts with life in prison.
“As we have regularly said, we call on the parliament of Uganda to look very carefully at this because Uganda’s own Human Rights Council has made clear that if this were to pass, it would put the country out of compliance with its own international human rights obligations,” Nuland said. “And so, Assistant Secretary Carson had a chance to make that point again and our strong opposition to this, to the president, to the parliament and to key decision makers in Uganda.”
It’s good to see the State Department on this and this assault on decency should be rejected and severely ostracized by the US government. And if passed every cent of aid should be cut off to Uganda.
But lets not forget where this all started and who is responsible for spreading such hate. With America’s own religious rightwing extremist doing “missionary” work in Africa.
But where are the voices of America’s REAL Christianscondemning the actions in Uganda and the religious right?
Over and over we hear not all “christians” are evil, and I am sure they are not. But the good ones, the REAL onesneed to prove it and speak out against and stand up to the right-wing religious extremist and the heinous work that they do and how they have perverted Christianity.
The U.S. State Department has reiterated their support for gay rights while discussing a proposed bill in Russia that would outlaw “gay propaganda.”
On Wednesday lawmakers in St. Petersburg, Russia would postponed a debate on the bill proposed by the dominant United Russia Party. The bill, written by Vilatly Milonov, would criminalize “public actions aimed at propaganda of pederasty, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism among minors.” Milonov purposely wrote the bill to include LGBT with the heinous criminal offense of “child molestation and abuse” to demonize and vilify the LGBT Community in Russia.
“Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights,” the State Department said, citing the official statement of Hillary Clinton commenting on the proposal of the St. Petersburg lawmakers.
“We have called on Russian officials to safeguard these freedoms, and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens,” the State Department officials said. “The United States places great importance on combating discrimination against the LGBT community and all minority groups.”