The Obama administration this week took a significant step in becoming a global leader on gay rights.
Joining 85 countries, the U.S. condemned discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
U.S. ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe urged the UN and other states to take action. “Human rights are the inalienable right of every person, no matter who they are or who they love,” Donahoe said. “The U.S. government is firmly committed to supporting the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals to lead productive and dignified lives, free from fear and violence.”
By defining sexual orientation as a basic human right, the Obama administration has once again placed America in an important leadership position. Last week, while on a tour of South America, President Obama announced the creation of a government position to help monitor gay rights in the West.
Predictably, Obama’s continued historic push towards equality has not gone unnoticed by those on the other side. “While American forces bomb away at Libya, the Obama administration is launching another global offensive: Operation International Tolerance,” the Family Research Council said in a statement.
There’s that “tolerant” word again. Am I missing something? Why is this such a bad word?
According to the Family Research Council, countries should have the right to discriminate against gays. And of course, why not? “Our global neighbors have the freedom to believe that homosexuality is wrong – just as they have the freedom to legislate against any behavior they think is harmful to society. That freedom – and their very sovereignty – would be threatened by this effort.”
I suppose in their world, that whole ‘you can’t legislate morality’ is another assault on their fickle freedoms?
In the meantime, we count ourselves as fortunate to have a President who says, ‘Hey world, it’s okay to be gay.’