Today Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking to a UN gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, made an eloquent speech supporting gay equality in observance of International Human Rights Day — click the link to read the whole thing. It’s worth it. Here is a sample (bolding mine):
At three o’clock in the morning on December 10th, 1948, after nearly two years of drafting and one last long night of debate, the president of the UN 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.
[snip] Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm.
I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.
[Note to Obama: start now by speaking out in support of gay equality, repealing DOMA and getting gay and lesbian equality enshrined in federal law.
Hollywood: if you want credit for courageous story-telling, have the costume designers craft some spines for you and include lesbians and gays in the stories you tell in movies, TV and online. Confused about where to start? Why doesn’t the diversity in science fiction characters include any lesbians and gays? Doesn’t the future include us?
Leftist/liberal lesbians and gays: stop letting your own party get away with using you as cash cows and volunteer labor with little or no reciprocity.
Cher: You have a transsexual son who is a former lesbian, plus a vast fortune, much of which has come from gay wallets. You could organize, campaign, fundraise and donate for gay equality like no one else in the world. Cher, you could make gay equality happen, practically single-handedly. Yet your activism is confined to a handful of tweets and watching your son compete on “Dancing with the Stars.” It’s time to ask, “What would Elizabeth Taylor do?” And then get busy!]
Now, raising this issue, I know, is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs. So I come here before you with respect, understanding, and humility. Even though progress on this front is not easy, we cannot delay acting. So in that spirit, I want to talk about the difficult and important issues we must address together to reach a global consensus that recognizes the human rights of LGBT citizens everywhere.
The first issue goes to the heart of the matter. Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same. Now, of course, 60 years ago, the governments that drafted and passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT community. They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups. Yet in the past 60 years, we have come to recognize that members of these groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because, like all people, they share a common humanity.
This recognition did not occur all at once. It evolved over time. And as it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always had, rather than creating new or special rights for them. 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.
I just have a few more things to handle and expect to start posting regularly again sometime this week. I have missed you.
Update, 12/7/2011, Wed.:
Today is the seventh anniversary of the death of my late life partner of over 20 years, Margaret Ardussi. I don’t feel much like writing. However, I see via Tina Korbe at Hot Air that Sec. Clinton’s speech appears to be coordinated with a memorandum from Obama, which the Washington Times reports, “… instructs the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other agencies to use foreign aid to ‘build respect for the human rights of LGBT persons.’ ”
So Obama is going to use foreign aie to bid other countries to do as he says but not as he does regarding gay equality. I’m surprised Obama didn’t compare himself to Lincoln and his memorandum to the Emancipation Proclamation, by which Lincoln freed the slaves over whom he had no jurisdiction without making them equal citizens.
I am most astonished at the reaction of Zombie, at the PJ Tatler, because pieces she has written for PJ Media have been among the most successful I’ve ever read at inciting hatred against lesbians and gays. However, perhaps she was just not skillful in those pieces at making a distinction between being lesbian or gay and holding Leftist/liberal fiscal beliefs and only intended to smash the latter. Apparently she is either in favor of gay equality, or so absolutely callous to gays that she is willing to use us as leverage against the world’s most ruthless regimes because, really, what could go wrong? Nevertheless, I do like her list, even though she overlooks the fact that the most effective first demand is to require Obama to recognize lesbian and gay equality in the U.S. through federal legislation to set an example for the world — note that her last demand includes the U.S. as an anti-gay country because Obama has not gotten DOMA repealed. Do read her piece linked above. Here is her list:
- Enforce a total embargo against any country that has a death penalty for homosexual activity, including most importantly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Yemen, Iran, Mauritania, and Somalia.
- In order to implement the embargo and make the United States energy-independent from these death-penalty countries, open up to drilling all American-controlled offshore oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico, and loosen any existing restrictions against oil production on U.S. territory.
- Enact punitive tariffs and other severe economic penalties against any US trading partners that continue to do business with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, or other countries where gays are executed.
- Withhold all – and I mean ALL – foreign aid from any countries where homosexuality is officially illegal and where gays are imprisoned or punished simply for being gay. Promise to restore aid only when homosexuality is legalized. The countries affected by this order include Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories (Gaza), Syria, Qatar, Malaysia, Oman, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Burma, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Ghana, among many others.
- Stop all immigration from any countries mentioned above until they relax their anti-gay laws, with the exception of gay asylum-seekers.
- Issue a clear timetable to all countries formerly receiving aid from the US: If you relax anti-gay laws and legalize homosexuality within two years, then aid will be restored. But if you maintain or increase existing anti-gay laws, then after two years the withdrawal of foreign aid will be escalated to full embargo status.
- All monies saved from the withholding of foreign aid will be allocated to the newly gay-friendly U.S. military, which will be instructed to develop contingency plans to invade and overthrow the government of any country which maintains harsh anti-gay legislation after three years’ time, starting with the death penalty states and continuing down the list from most severe to least severe.
- Encourage and fund the building of next-generation ultra-safe nuclear power plants in areas far from population centers and seismic faultlines to minimize any potential danger, to help replace energy sources lost due to economic sanctions.
- Remove any restrictions preventing the development of American natural gas fields and other fossil fuels.
- At the United Nations, veto, vote against or boycott all proposals by any countries who maintain anti-gay legislation, until such time that homosexuality is fully legalized.