December 27, 2011 | 7:52 am
Posted by Karmel Melamed
Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an audience of diplomats at the United Nations in Geneva that “gay rights are human rights” and that “it should never be a crime to be gay”. Yet what was surprising about Mrs. Clinton’s gay rights speech for many of us who have been following the Obama administration’s foreign policy on human rights was its lack of real substance. She stated the U.S. would make decisions on asylum and aid to countries based on their record of human rights towards LGBT but nothing more. Why wasn’t there a bold call to rally western nations to pursue a tougher “no nonsense” stance against regime’s who abuse or kill LGBT because of their sexual orientation? There seems to no “bite” to the Obama administration’s supposed support for human rights for LGBT around the world. Moreover Mrs. Clinton’s speech failed to mention the serious violators of LGBT rights in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia and Iran where homosexuals are routinely executed for their sexual orientation. Iran’s government follows Sharia or Islamic law that prohibits any type of sexual activity outside the realm of heterosexual marriage, and homosexuality is considered “a violation of the supreme will of God.” Specifically, in Islamic law homosexuality is referred to as “lavat,” which is Arabic for sodomy and in Iran is punishable only by death.
Those interested in reading about the Iran government’s significant human rights abuses against LGBT in Iran, can read my recent article about it in the Advocate magazine.
One is left wondering why Mrs. Clinton and the Obama administration for that matter are shying away from or frightened to call out the Iranian regime for their unspeakable crimes against LGBT living in Iran? One would think that the current U.S. administration would make sure to use almost every opportunity they come across to single out and isolate Iran’s fundamentalist Islamic regime. While many nations around the world may be swayed into believing Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful, the majority of them cannot deny that Iran’s policy of executing LGBT is utterly horrid. So why isn’t the Obama administration trying to win world support against Iran’s regime for their human rights violations instead of the nuclear issue? This move would no doubt more easily isolate Iran among the countries of the world. And if would seem that once Iran is isolated to a greater extent, it could potentially change its behavior when it comes to the nuclear issue. But it seems as if the Obama administration is fine with not doing anything of the kind when it comes to isolating Iran internationally on all issues. Yes one can argue that there are many violators of LGBT rights in the Middle East and Africa— but are any of them actively pursuing nuclear weapons and calling for their neighbors to be “wiped off the map” like Iran’s leadership has? The crimes against LGBT and humanity in general committed by Iran’s current leadership during the last 32 years are some of the most horrendous to date and cannot be ignored! For this simple reason alone, Iran must be singled out from the family of nations for their human rights abuses. And for Mrs. Clinton to avoid mentioning Iran in her very important speech, yet again I believe shows weak leadership by the Obama administration when it comes to the issue of Iran policy by the U.S.
I hate to admit it but it seems as if Mrs. Clinton’s speech was nothing more than a 2012 election ploy by the Obama administration to fire up her party’s support among LGBT in the U.S. for President Obama. If there was more substance in her speech and if she had made a real effort to call out Iran’s regime for its LGBT abuses, it would have revealed Mrs. Clinton’s true courage to stand up for real human rights and stand up to Iran for its failed human rights record. In the coming 2012 elections those who truly care about LGBT human rights should call out the Obama administration for their failure to do and say nothing about the unspeakable LGBT abuses occurring in Iran today.
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