Obama’s Pro-Gay Foreign Policy – What Does It Really Mean?
Earlier this week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a groundbreaking speech in which she made it known that the U.S. will use diplomacy including the enticement of foreign aid, to promote rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender peoples around the world.
While this might not be as big of a problem for countries who already practice progressive legislation, many people have wondered how this will affect the future of U.S. diplomatic relations with countries in the Middle East and Africa. African countries currently are on the receiving end of large amounts of foreign aid from the U.S. as well as other countries. With the exception of South Africa which included equal rights for gays in it’s constitution, the majority of African countries have laws in place making homosexuality punishable by death and imprisonment.
After Ms. Clinton’s speech this week, a number of high ranking officials from countries in Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda spoke out against the proposed changes to the terms of foreign aid. Earlier this year Uganda backed off from adopting legislation that would have punished ‘aggressive homosexuality’ with the death penalty after the U.S. threatened to withdraw financial and economic assistance.
Just last week Nigeria adopted a law banning same sex marriages. The law also imposed a 14-year prison sentence for individuals who attempted to wed a same sex partner. Individuals found guilty of facilitating gay marriage would face up to 10-years in prison.
The response to the administration’s new foreign policy direction hasn’t been all negative, with reports that some countries, such as Malawi, have began the process of looking at their laws pertaining to homosexuals. A bigger question that comes to mind is how can the U.S. expect other nations to adopt progressive legislation and equal rights for gays when here at home we still have anti-sodomy laws and constitutional bans on marriage and partnership in different states?
I would love to hear some of your thoughts in the comments below.