President Barack Obama on Tuesday
announced his administration would consider gay rights in making
decisions about foreign aid.
The president issued a memorandum
directing all agencies engaged abroad to make certain U.S. aid
programs “promote and protect” the rights of gay people.
“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,” Obama wrote in the document.
“I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination
targeting LGBT persons around the word.”
Agencies will increase government and
civil society engagement in an effort to promote gay rights,
including combating criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad.
The memo also requires all agencies
engaged abroad to submit an annual report to the Department of State
on their progress towards advancing LGBT issues. The first report is
due on June 6.
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate,
cheered the move.
“Today's actions by President Obama
make clear that the United States will not turn a blind eye when
governments commit or allow abuses to the human rights of LGBT
people,” Solmonese said in a statement.
bill criminalizing gay marriage threatens AIDS funding.)