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Hillary Clinton: The Most Pro-LGBT Secretary of State Ever

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been nothing short of a rock star when it comes to denouncing international homophobia. On September 11 this year, she made it a point to talk about how international gay rights are part of the Obama administration's human rights agenda. On World AIDS Day this year, she drew the connections between criminalization of homosexuality and the HIV pandemic. And just this week, Clinton blasted Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act, calling it out as a piece of legislation that would violate human rights and take away human dignity. Fierce advocate for gay rights? Yeah, there's one in the White House. But it might not be the one with the fancier desk and the oval-like office.

Clinton's condemnation of Uganda's anti-gay bill came during a widely-publicized speech on the human rights policies of the Obama administration. Coupled with stinging remarks to countries that foster gender inequality, the speech continued a focus on global homophobia that has been a part of Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State since practically day one.

"Governments should be expected to resist the temptation to restrict freedom of expression when criticism arises, and be vigilant in preventing law from becoming an instrument of oppression, as bills like the one under consideration in Uganda to criminalize homosexuality would do," Clinton said.

Clinton joins nearly 99 percent of the world, it seems, calling for Uganda to dump its Anti-Homosexuality Bill. For now the country continues to resist international pressure to drop the bill, making Uganda even less popular than the Taliban. Which is exactly the type of human rights company the country will deserve if it passes the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

While human rights activists continue to be mixed on the Obama administration's first year in office, Clinton deserves credit for keeping international gay rights on this White House's radar screen. Years of George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice resulted in very little action on anything pertaining to global homophobia.

Yet within Clinton's first few months in office, the United States signed onto a UN statement calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality. And Clinton also pushed the Obama administration to announce that it would offer benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

There's a tendency to focus on the executive branch of government and wonder why we've seen very slow movement on issues like repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," or the Obama administration's weird defense of laws like the Defense of Marriage Act. Clearly, this is a White House that deserves heat and continued pressure from LGBT rights activists.

But it's also important to recognize that on the international scene, this country has never had a more pro-LGBT Secretary of State. The Clinton brand, in all its glory, has made human rights for LGBT people around the globe a part of its story.

Maybe Hillary Clinton wasn't the best Presidential candidate last year. But she may just become the best Secretary of State, at least when it comes to sending a message that the human rights of queer folk deserve to be protected.

source

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Tags: hillary clinton, lgbtq / gender & sexual minorities
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