In his final address to the United
Nations while in office, President Barack Obama called for an end to
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“In remote corners of the world,
citizens are demanding respect for the dignity of all people no
matter their gender or race or religion or disability or sexual
orientation, and those who deny others dignity are subject to public
reproach,” Obama told the U.N. Genera Assembly in New York on
Obama said barriers such as “religious
fundamentalism; the politics of ethnicity, or tribe, or sect;
aggressive nationalism; a crude populism [opposed to open borders]”
were keeping the world from moving forward.
“[A] nation ringed by walls would
only imprison itself,” he said.
“So the answer cannot be a simple
rejection of global integration. Instead, we must work together to
make sure the benefits of such integration are broadly shared, and
that the disruptions – economic, political and cultural – that
are caused by integration are squarely addressed.”
“Now, there’s no easy answer for
resolving all these social forces … But I do not believe progress
is possible if our desire to preserve our identities gives way to an
impulse to dehumanize or dominate another group. If our religion
leads us to persecute those of another faith, if we jail or beat
people who are gay, if our traditions lead us to prevent girls from
going to school, if we discriminate on the basis of race or tribe or
ethnicity, then the fragile bonds of civilization will fray. The
world is too small, we are too packed together, for us to be able to
resort to those old ways of thinking,” he added.