March 3, 2021 at 2:41 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Blinken reaffirms Biden administration’s pledge to champion global LGBTQ rights
Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Photo public domain)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday reaffirmed the Biden administration’s foreign policy will promote LGBTQ rights around the world.

“We will stand firm behind our commitments to human rights, democracy, the rule of law,” said Blinken in a speech he delivered at the State Department. “And we’ll stand up against injustice toward women and girls, LGBTQI people, religious minorities, and people of all races and ethnicities.”

President Biden last month issued a memorandum that committed the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ rights abroad.

The Obama administration in 2011 issued a similar directive. The Trump White in 2019 tapped then-U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to lead an initiative that encouraged countries to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations.

Blinken during his confirmation hearing pledged to raise the position of special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad within the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor to an ambassador level position. Blinken also said he would “repudiate” the Commission for Unalienable Rights — which sought to stress “natural laws and natural rights” — that his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, announced.

The State Department last month told the Washington Blade it is “troubled” by reports that Russian authorities arrested two brothers from Chechnya who fled an anti-LGBTQ crackdown and returned them to their homeland. A State Department spokesperson in January described the caning of two men in Indonesia’s Aceh province whose neighbors caught them having sex as “an extreme form of punishment.”

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

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