Across the globe…equality is on the march: Ambassador Susan Rice Speaks on Global LGBT Issues

By John Michael Anzilotti

Ambassador Susan Rice, White House National Security Advisor, recently spoke on LGBT human rights at an event co-hosted by Human Rights First, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and American University.

Rice highlighted recent progress in the United States and discussed U.S. efforts to champion equality internationally. Equality, she said, is “morally right and strategically smart.” She rightly touted President Obama’s creation of the position of Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons within the State Department. Discussing the backlash against openly gay Ambassador Wally Brewster in the Dominican Republic and the U.S. government’s response, Rice said, “We do not bow to bigotry.”

Rice affirmed the U.S. commitment to working with civil society to advance the human rights of LGBT people, speak out against discrimination, and celebrate diversity. She connected the LGBT movement to past struggles, including the fight for interracial marriage and against the stigma that affected her and her own husband. She urged a renewed commitment “to battle discrimination in all its guises and embrace diversity in all its forms. Until every one of us is truly treated equally—no matter who we are, where we live, or whom we love. ”

She acknowledged that the United States and the rest of the international community still have much work to do, citing “laws that are equal or worse than the Russian Anti-Propaganda Law.”

Rice thanked Human Rights First and Human Rights Campaign for their work on this issue. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, who spoke before Rice, praised the Obama Administration: “Equality has become a pillar for American foreign policy.”

Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino helped introduce Rice and stressed that championing human rights was in the national interest. “Respect for human rights is the foundation of peace and security in the world,” she said. “Our country is safer and stronger when it lives up to its ideals of dignity and equality.”

Massimino also gave the Obama Administration high marks for its record on LGBT human rights: “Thanks to the vision and persistence of the Obama Administration—and of Ambassador Rice in particular—courageous activists around the world seeking to promote the rights and equality of LGBT people know that America stands with them.”


Published on November 4, 2016


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