News / USA

US Foreign Policy on Gay Rights Sparks Debate

US Foreign Policy on Gay Rights Sparks Discussioni
X
July 16, 2013 9:52 PM
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
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

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More