May 17, 2015 at 11:42 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Obama: ‘LGBT rights are human rights’
Ebola, gay news, Washington Blade

President Obama issued a statement on the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

President Obama proclaimed on Saturday “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights are human rights” in a statement observing the annual International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia.

“We take this opportunity to reaffirm that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights are human rights, to celebrate the dignity of every person, and to underscore that all people deserve to live free from fear, violence, and discrimination, regardless of who they are or whom they love,” Obama said.

The phrase “gay rights are human rights” was made famous by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in her former capacity as secretary of state during a 2010 Pride speech and has been used since that time by the Obama administration to talk about international human rights.

“We work toward this goal every day,” Obama continued. “Here at home, we are working to end bias-motivated violence, combat discrimination in the workplace, and address the specific needs of transgender persons. Overseas, I am proud of the steps that the United States has taken to prioritize the protection and promotion of LGBT rights in our diplomacy and global outreach.”

Obama issued the statement on the same day National Security Adviser Susan Rice condemned anti-gay remarks from Gambia President Yahya Jemmeh in which he pledged to slit the throats of gay men in his country.

“There is much more to do, and this fight for equality will not be won in a day,” Obama added. “But we will keep working, at home and abroad, and we will keep fighting, for however long it takes until we are all able to live free and equal in dignity and rights.”

On Sunday, Vice President Joseph Biden issued his own statement, saying the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia is a time to reflect on progress the country has made on LGBT rights.

“My father taught me the simple notion that everyone, everywhere is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect,” Biden said. “When it comes to LGBT people, that simple proposition has been painfully difficult to accomplish over the years. But in the last decade, thanks to the astounding bravery of the LGBT community and those who have championed their cause, the United States has made remarkable progress toward the ultimate goal of equality in law and in life. Our progress remains incomplete, but the momentum has shifted in the right direction.”

Biden acknowledged significant obstacles remain in protecting LGBT people from human rights violations overseas.

“Progress has also been made in many places around the world,” Biden said. “But in too many places, life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals is actually getting worse. In too many places, LGBT community members face violence with impunity, mistreatment by police, the denial of healthcare, or religious condemnation and social isolation.”

Biden issued the statement as he’s been making outreach efforts to the LGBT community, including by speaking at the annual OutGiving conference for high-dollar LGBT donors and before LGBT activists at a Human Rights Campaign conference.

“The best mechanism to confront this hatred is to speak up in favor of universal human rights. Supportive voices must be heard,” Biden said. “Today and every day, let us continue to defend the rights of LGBT people, whether from nearby cities or far-off villages. We cannot rest until everyone receives the dignity, respect, and equal treatment under the law that all people deserve.”

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

9 Comments
  • What absolute and complete rubbish. The so-called rights are no rights at all. They are claiming equality for things that are clearly not equal. The so-called rights are opposed to human rights because they deny children their rights. They are against human rights because they undermine the basis of humanity which is procreation and the natural family and put the power in the hands of the state instead of the individual and the family. The whole straw man argument of “hatred” is nonsense and completely ignores the fundamental problems associated with homosexuality and sexual dysfunction.

    • Actually your mindset is complete and absolute rubbish! You haven’t got a clue about human rights and dignity! I’m so sick of people like you always trying to dehumanize GLBT people and reduce them to nothing more than sex!
      Since you don’t support GLBT- feed them, bill their bills, house them or pay them-your opinion about them matters squat! The Government provides legal rights NOT you!
      Being GLBT is not about who is between your legs but what is between your ears! It’s GLBT who will decide what is hatred concerning them NOT you! It’s NOT about you and NEVER was and NEVER will be!
      GLBT are not your kids, incompetent or your pets. They don’t need you making decisions for them either!
      Being able to procreate NEVER has been and isn’t a criteria recognized by state or Federal governments as a criteria for having rights under the law! Infertile heterosexual couples are no less human or of value because they cannot have children anymore GLBT couples are!

  • It’s very interesting when we see the present but also quickly forget the past. I truly believe President Obama does understand and believe in the equal rights for everyone including the LBGT community. I guess my problem still lies in the original platform he took when campaigning. If you believe in something be true from the start, don’t lie to get there. Alas that is our downfall of our society.

    • Having a stance/opinion doesn’t mean you are married to it. Some people actually learn and grow. With that can come a change of heart.

    • He may not have always believed what he does today, and even if he did saying it to the wrong people at the wrong times might have shut the hearts of those he had to work with for certain aims. Nor is it always possible in the long run to keep your promises;sometimes life keeps you from being able to follow through. I hope though that he sincerely meant all he said at the time.

    • Or maybe you just find it hard to forgive Blacks? Will you feel the same about Hillary? And please don’t talk about the past we all bring up hurts that LGBTQ Community has done to many people.

  • Since the common denominator is being human. Be it sexual orientation, race, nationality, religious belief or no religious belief. Every right is a human right. When the Constitution says “all men/humans are created equal.” That is all inclusive although some people aren’t treated that way and to fight for their rights. I believe President Obama gets that now.

    • But to take that position on marriage you have to assume that marriage has nothing to do with sex and that is a faulty view that has detrimental effects on society.

  • I, am slightly “gay” in some limited behaviors and sounds. my brain chemistry is different, from birth, and then was modified by a couple or few vaccines, without my consent. meanwhile ongoing in Hawaii, a local group the “Hawaiian name “Kaneholani”, are breaking several executive state, and county laws, while threatening live weapons and assaulting a visiting tourist female, who has some “similar” biological traits. her gender is being also 24/7 made ridiculed and shamed for her life story…again as she was helpless in her infancy (different circumstances). no one deserves to be acutely abused, for what they could not help, in there earlier life, as a infant and a toddler. some Hawaiians have a long record of this “white and other hate, even extreme hate against there own race”, when some woman or man, is merely confused, or there endocrine toxicity is out of bounds. i am insulted and disgusted, and appeal to Obama for his courage, and resolve, in his executive orders, to protect against ongoing hate crimes, at Kalaheo Kaua’i. while the state of Hawaii is criminally negligent to address this. perhaps more should pray for how the parents of such Hawaiians, treat there own…and visitors. i know our GOD, is a loving GOD, to ALL, and the crimes ongoing are beyond ….i don’t know how to describe my personal PTSD over the live situation on Kaua’i. thank you for your time, please feel free to copy and paste this to whomever you like. RVL Longmont Colorado USA

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