September 24, 2014 at 10:50 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Obama broadly references gay rights in U.N. address

ISIL, gay news, Washington Blade

President Obama on Wednesday broadly referenced gay rights during his address to the U.N. General Assembly (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama on Wednesday broadly referenced gay rights during his address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

“I’ve seen a longing for positive change – for peace and freedom and opportunity – in the eyes of young people I’ve met around the globe,” he said. “They remind me that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or what God you pray to, or who you love, there is something fundamental that we all share.”

“The people of the world look to us, here, to be as decent, as dignified, and as courageous as they are in their daily lives,” added Obama. “And at this crossroads, I can promise you that the United States of America will not be distracted or deterred from what must be done. We are heirs to a proud legacy of freedom, and we are prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come. Join us in this common mission, for today’s children and tomorrow’s.”

Obama’s speech comes two days after the U.S. and its allies launched air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The address also coincides with ongoing tensions between Russia and Europe over the war between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists.

Obama on Wednesday was also scheduled to meet with Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, who is the president of the U.N. General Assembly.

An administration official told the Washington Blade the White House has “previously raised this issue” of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act that imposes a life sentence upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual acts with Kutesa.

“He is well aware of our concerns,” said the official.

Ned Price, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, told the Blade the White House expects “their conversation will center on matter pertaining to the U.N.”

“More broadly, the Obama Administration has long spoken out — including with the Ugandans — in support of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals,” said Price.

The Blade will provide further updates as they become available.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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