Biden: Gay rights take precedence over culture

2014-06-25 08:49
File: AFP

File: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Promises to Keep
    Democratic Senator Biden, presents an insiders look at life in the senate, Washington politics, and... Now R298.00
    buy now
Washington - Vice President Joe Biden declared on Tuesday that protecting gay rights is a defining mark of a civilised nation and must trump national cultures and social traditions as the Obama administration sought to mobilize a global front against anti-gay violence and discrimination.

Biden told a gathering of US and international gay rights advocates that President Barack Obama has directed that US diplomacy and foreign assistance promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender men and women around the world.

"I don't care what your culture is," Biden told about 100 guests at the Naval Observatory's vice presidential mansion. "Inhumanity is inhumanity is inhumanity. Prejudice is prejudice is prejudice."

With anti-gay laws taking root in nearly 80 countries, Biden and other top White House officials met with religious, human rights and HIV health care advocates in a forum dedicated to promoting gay rights internationally.

Biden, who has emerged as a leading gay rights advocate within the Obama administration ever since he got ahead of the president in declaring his support for gay marriage, said that across US government agencies officials have been instructed to make the promotion of gay rights abroad a priority.

Where countries fail to move toward protections of LGBT people, he warned, "there is a price to pay for being inhumane." Among those at the evening reception were leading gay rights activists and the ambassadors from Britain, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland.

Earlier Tuesday, White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice cast the protection of gays from global discrimination, abuse and even death as one of the most challenging international human rights issue facing the United States. Biden called gay rights "the civil rights issue of our day".

Lasting global change

"To achieve lasting global change, we need everyone's shoulder at the wheel," she said. "With more voices to enrich and amplify the message — the message that gay rights are straight-up human rights — we can open more minds."

Rice cautioned that the effort is difficult because laws limiting gay rights in some countries enjoy strong popular support. But she said cultural differences do not excuse human rights violations.

"Governments are responsible for protecting the rights of all citizens, and it is incumbent upon the state, and on each of us, to foster tolerance and to reverse the tide of discrimination," Rice said.

Last week, the US imposed visa bans on Ugandan officials who are involved in corruption and are violating the rights of gay people and others. Uganda passed a law in February that strengthened criminal penalties for gay sex and made life sentences possible for those convicted of breaking the law.

During his trip to Africa last year, Obama, while in Senegal, urged African leaders to extend equal rights to gays and lesbians. Senegal's president, however, pushed back, saying his country "still isn't ready" to decriminalize homosexuality. Seven countries have laws imposing death sentences for gay sex and Brunei is on track to becoming the eighth one.

Tuesday's forum was the latest administrative attempt by Obama to promote gay and lesbian rights both in the United States and abroad. Obama successfully pushed to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military and his administration stopped defending the Defence of Marriage Act years before the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. The law allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states and effectively barred same-sex married couples from receiving federal marriage benefits.

Earlier this month, Obama announced he will sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Last week, it also granted new benefits to same-sex couples, including those who live in states where gay marriage is against the law.
- AP

Read more on:    joe biden  |  us  |  gay rights
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
43 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Milnerton - 13:26 PM
    Road name: Koeberg Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Racecourse Road - expect delays
  • Wednesday Goodwood - 12:40 PM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive Southbound
    DELAYS approaching Voortrekker Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is always easier to look out and see what needs changing. Looking in is a lot harder... Today you may need to look at what...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.