News / USA

US Foreign Policy on Gay Rights Sparks Debate

US Foreign Policy on Gay Rights Sparks Discussioni
X
July 16, 2013
The steady growth of support for the gay rights movement and same sex marriage equality within the United States has been accompanied by increased U.S. government support for gay rights around the world. VOA’s Brian Padden reports the U.S. foreign policy to promote equal rights, no matter sexual orientation, has sparked criticism both abroad and at home.

US Foreign Policy on Gay Rights Sparks Discussion

TEXT SIZE - +
Brian Padden
— The steady growth of support for the gay rights movement and same sex marriage equality within the United States has been accompanied by increased U.S. government support for gay rights around the world.  The U.S. foreign policy to promote equal rights, no matter sexual orientation, has sparked criticism both abroad and at home.
 
Living now in relative freedom and security in New York City, artist and filmmaker Alexander Kargaltsev remembers the harassment and violence he suffered as a gay man in his native Russia.
 
“I went to the demonstration like gay pride, an attempt of gay pride because it did not happen.  And a few people were arrested and I was beaten by police and I was left laying down bleeding," he said. 
 
U.S. officials view anti-gay violence as human rights violations and granted Kargaltsev and a number of refugees asylum based on the persecution they faced for their sexual identity.
 
The United States is also using diplomacy and aid to support gay rights.  Journalist Michael Lavers, with the gay newspaper the Washington Blade, recently participated in a U.S. government-sponsored workshop in Colombia, where he talked to gay and lesbian activists about how to use the media to hold officials accountable.  
 
“This is not to say the situation in the United States is perfect.  We certainly have our own issues with discrimination and so forth, but folks outside the United States, at least the folks I have spoken to in Colombia and in other places around the world, really look to the United States almost as an example of how to do things right," he said. 
 
President Obama was in Senegal when the U.S. Supreme Court expanded gay marriage rights.  In Senegal and 38 countries in Africa homosexuality is a crime, and in some countries it is punishable by death.  The president spoke out in favor of same sex marriage.  
 
“We believe in basic fairness, and what I think yesterday’s ruling signifies is one more step towards ensuring that those basic principles apply to everybody," he said. 
 
Senegalese President Macky Sall said his Muslim majority country would not change its laws.  
 
Opponents of same sex marriage in America are also critical of U.S. foreign policy supporting same sex marriage, which is not legal in many U.S. states.  Thomas Peters is with the National Organization for Marriage.
 
“We do not believe that redefining is the path toward equality.  When you redefine marriage you actually create inequality in society.  And so, on the one hand we can absolutely support gay rights to not be persecuted for their orientation or for their lifestyle, but we also can stand up for marriage, which is what we do," he said. 
 
Human-rights groups agree that protecting free speech and combating hate violence should be a priority for U.S. foreign policy, but they say supporting equal rights also means supporting the right for same-sex couples to marry.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid