August 5, 2011 | by Chris Johnson
Obama bars U.S. entry for violators of LGBT human rights abroad

Barack Obama (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama issued a proclamation on Thursday that could prohibit those engaging in LGBT persecution overseas from entering the United States.

The proclamation bars entry of immigrant and non-immigrant aliens who organize or participate in war crimes or serious violations of human rights — which could include those seeking to pass legislation in Uganda that would institute the death penalty for homosexual acts.

“The United States’ enduring commitment to respect for human rights and humanitarian law requires that its Government be able to ensure that the United States does not become a safe haven for serious violators of human rights and humanitarian law and those who engage in other related abuses,” Obama states.

Specific language in the proclamation explicitly states that those who persecute people based on their “sexual orientation and gender identity” are among the categories of those who won’t be able to enter the United States.

Additionally, the proclamation prevents not only those who perpetuated human rights abuses overseas from entering the United States, but also those who have “attempted or conspired to do so.”

“The proclamation also bans admission to the United States for those who are complicit in organizing these abuses — not just those who carry them out,” a White House fact sheet states. “As such, it allows the United States to act before planned abuses and atrocities metastasize into actual ones.”

The proclamation gives the secretary of state, or the secretary’s designee, the authority to identify people who won’t be able to enter the United States based on this new guidance.

However, other language in the proclamation states that such an individual could enter the country if the secretary of state determines that the “entry of such person would be in the interests of the United States.”

Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, said the order gives the Obama administration “an important tool to use in dissuading extremist actions that are prejudicial to basic human rights, and in encouraging the development of inclusive laws and societies.”

“The Council praises this move, which could in principle be used to justify the exclusion of hate-promoting politicians like Ugandan parliamentarian David Bahati, who introduced a ‘kill the gays bill’ in a previous legislative session in Uganda and may do so again,” Bromley said. “That bill, of course, would have carried dire consequences for LGBT individuals in Uganda.”

Bahati was previously invited to attend the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2010, but was later disinvited by organizers and didn’t make an appearance after he introduced his draconian anti-gay bill.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

25 Comments
  • Nicely done.. but what about people who are already here who have said that homosexuals deserve to die?

    • Too late I guess, but you have to start somewhere, and at least this is a beginning.

    • My first thought precisely. A number of people involved with the Ugandan bills, for example, are Americans. Will this law effect them, or do they get a pass because they were already here?

    • Yeah, like Muslims, whose religion demands death for us, as well as those who leave it and for women rape victims, among others. Is this admin. going to stop their talks (with Ms. Clinton) with the OIC (the world Islamic nations group) about finding ways to censor criticism of Islam in the West?

      Is he going to stop Muslims from immigrating into the US (here’s what an imam tells them about taking the oath of citizenship: http://www.islam.tc/cgi-bin/askimam/ask.pl?q=8471&act=view and you’ll get an idea why the Muslim US soldiers are a Trojan Horse – Islam/sharia will always come first)?

      Is he going to stop the Muslim diplomats from Islamic countries that kill gays or imprison us (which is every Islamic nation) from entering, like the Saudis, Pakistanis and so many more?

      The Saudi tentacles now reach too deep inside every Western nation in their drive to force us all to live under Islamic law (sharia) as their founder and deity command them to do. And every time you buy a gallon of gas, you’re helping them to buy that power.

      Islam is our greatest enemy in the world. Pat Robertson is our friend, in comparison. At least he doesn’t call for our deaths.

  • way togo OBAMA but I’m affraid all the good you’ve done will be for naught if miss bachman gets to the white house she plans to abolishe laws such as this one and the mathew shepard law passed buy you.sure hope you are reelected.

  • Mr President, Why do you and other politicians find it so easy to condemn, and persecute those overseas, but you let the STATES persecute the LGBT community by passing anti-gay laws, and you won’t fix the very UNEQUAL rights of the LGBT community. Look in your own backyard ! Jail the politicians, AND deny all federal funding to STATES that don’t invoke equal rights now. And reform IMMIGRATION so that same-sex couples can immigrate now ! SHAME ON YOU for not taking care of AMERICA first.

  • @Mark People like you are the ones ruining this debate. Are you actually saying that killing someone for being gay is on the same level as not letting a gay couple marry? That’s totally delusional. Please stop the with the dramatic rhetoric. It makes you look like a loon.

    • There are different types of death. Not letting someone marry is a kind of social and financial death. It is abuse and only those who suffer it know how it is like.

  • Too bad he couldn’t do something about the human rights abusers in the United States.

  • Our President does not rule by fiat. We are a nation of laws and those laws are made by Congress. The President cannot force Congress to do his will. No president ever has been able to do that. The President can suggest, he can direct Federal Agencies to implement certain policies, etc. But he cannot grant rights to the LBGT community. Congress must do this. So please get your civics lessons learned before trying to hold one person accountable for anything that happens in the United States of America. We are a Democracy with many voices being heard and supposedly working together for our common good. If you don’t like the way the social conservatives are preventing reasonable laws being passed and implemented, then work to defeat them at the next election and vote for those who uphold ALL human rights. Spend a dollar and support an organization like the HRC or Southern Poverty Law Center or a candidate who is running on a platform of gender equality and stop expecting a President to be able to work magic. Now, that being said, Obama needs to get moving on this issue and start putting pressure on Congress to act in the interest of ALL Americans, not just the straight ones.

  • Does the proclamation also pertain to the idiot president of Iran from entering the U.S. to spew his venom at the United Nations?

  • Obama IS looking out for the LGBT community in the U.S. by making sure we don’t have additional venom-filled individuals over here to attack us. We have enough to deal with – why let more violators of LGBT human rights into the States?

  • What about the Fundamentalist hate organizations in this country that FUND the Ugandan bill?

  • Mr. President, as a Ugandan lesbian woman who has witnessed how much US Christian fundamentalist groups are negatively impacting on the lives of LGBT, sexual and reproductive rights, and the rights of women, i appreciate your decision. However, i request that your administration puts in place strict measures that will protect marginalized groups in Africa from alliances between Christian fundamentalists in the US and Africa. America has to get better before its overseas partners can.

  • How come Canada & Mexico can pass laws which gives same sex couples rights as others but a country which proclaims to be a world leader in human rights lags way way behind.

  • Why is our government still supporting Hate Groups like NOM and AFA as well as child sex abuse rings like the Catholic church with tax exemptions? I am tired of my tax money going to support my enemies. How about when a hatemonger leaves the country, they are not allowed back in!

  • Obama bars violators of human rights from entering the U.S.?! Ha ha ha ha ha. So during next year’s G8 / NATO summit in Chicago, will he bar representatives from Russia and China? Oh — and will he bar himself for his treatment of Bradley Manning, et al? This is a sick joke, and anyone who believes Obama will bar violators of human rights from entering the country is a fool. We’ve got several bridges in Chicago we can sell them.

  • Too little too late. He should have stopped his friend Mr. Rick Warren and his comrades from leaving the country and stirring up anti-gay hate overseas.

  • Obama posing as a defender of human rights? Give me a break. Isn’t this the same guy who prevented war criminal George Bush from being put in the dock? Maybe he wants the same protection from his own successor.

  • What about Catholic Church officials/members who are flying back and forth from the Vatican? The church is one of the main violators of LGBT rughts throughout the world.

  • Thank you Mr. President for supporting LGBT people especially standing against the draconian law in Uganda.

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