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The Recent U.S Federal Court Ruling on Same-Sex Union and White House Memorandum on Foreign Aide

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The Federal Court of the United States last Friday, June 26, 2015, ruled in favor of same-sex marriages across the entire country.

This means that same sex will now be legal anywhere in the United States of America. The fact that it has now become law in the U.S, its impact on Africa is imminent- considering the fact most African Countries, Liberia heavily rely on foreign aid in spite of the vast resources.

Because of the mismanagement that has and continues to characterize the continent’s resources resulting to abject poverty, it is no secret that foreign aid, especially from the United States and United Kingdom, will greatly be dependent on the advancement of gay rights in countries of Africa.

The following highlights of a White House Memo by President Obama in 2011 are the backdrop of the foregoing assertions:

“By this memorandum I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons. Specifically, I direct the following actions, consistent with applicable law:

Sec 1. Combating Criminalization of LGBT Status or Conduct Abroad: Agencies engaged abroad are directed to strengthen existing efforts to effectively combat the criminalization by foreign governments of LGBT status or conduct and to expand efforts to combat discrimination, homophobia, and intolerance on the basis of LGBT status or conduct”

Sec. 2. Protecting Vulnerable LGBT Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

Sec. 3. Foreign Assistance to Protect Human Rights and Advance Nondiscrimination.

Sec. 4. Swift and Meaningful U.S. Responses to Human Rights Abuses of LGBT Persons Abroad.

Sec. 5. Engaging International Organizations in the Fight Against LGBT Discrimination.”

In her forceful speech, Secretary of State Clinton said “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.” And here is an excerpt:

Now there is still as you all know much more to be done to secure that commitment, that reality and progress for all people. Today I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose Human Rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed.

Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or too often even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm.

I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual and tran[s]gender people. Human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity who have a right to claim that which is now one of the remaining Human Rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on Human Rights for gay people is far from perfect until 2003 it was still a crime in parts of our country.

Many Lateasha Barbour Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives and for some including many young people bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect Human Rights at home. Now raising this issue I know is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural and religious beliefs.

Being gay is not a western invention. It is a human reality. And protecting the Human Rights of all people gay or straight is not something that only western governments do. South Africa’s constitution written in the aftermath of apartheid protects the equality of all citizens including gay people. In Columbia in Argentina the rights of gays are also legally protected. In Nepal the supreme court has ruled that equal rights apply to LGBT citizens. The government of Mongolia has committed to pursue new legislation that will tackle discrimination.
A luxury only wealthy nations can afford, in fact in all countries there are costs to not protecting these rights. In both gay and straight lives lost to disease and violence and the silencing of voices and views that would strengthen communities and ideas never pursued by entrepreneurs who happen to be gay.

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