Feature

Should the U.S. use foreign aid to promote gay rights?

Hillary Clinton declares that "gay rights are human rights," and vows that the administration will penalize countries that abuse citizens over sexual orientation

In a landmark speech Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised that the United States would use diplomacy and foreign aid to fight discrimination against gays and lesbians around the world. "Gay rights are human rights," Clinton said, "and human rights are gay rights." President Obama also ordered overseas federal agencies to fight anti-gay violence and provide asylum to gays seeking protection. Is this twisting the purpose of foreign aid, or is it obviously just the right thing to do?

You can't bribe other nations to respect gay rights: Using foreign aid for "social engineering" overseas is bound to be seen as meddling, says Reid Smith at The American Spectator. "The Obama administration cannot adjust distant attitudes about gay and lesbians through bribery." And unless Obama is willing to cut off homophobic allies like Egypt, India, and Saudi Arabia, this is just another "toothless political pronouncement" that will fuel "Americans' dissatisfaction with our global handouts.""Foreign aid and the problematic promotion of gay rights"

But it's mind-boggling that the Right opposes this: Predictably, conservatives are fuming, says John Aravosis at America Blog. GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry criticized Obama for "endorsing the gay lifestyle." Seriously? This isn't a social issue like same-sex marriage. It's about telling governments that have "jailed, tortured, and killed" people solely for being gay that U.S. taxpayers will no longer help subsidize their human rights abuses."NYT: U.S. to use foreign aid to promote gay human rights"

And for Obama, this is a winning move: Republicans like Perry "will hurt themselves with the majority if they continue to play to the dwindling anti-gay minority," says Carter Eskew at The Washington Post. Clearly, this round goes to Obama. This overdue move could "galvanize the gay rights political community," which had plenty of doubts about Obama, but now has "real reason for renewed enthusiasm.""Attacking Obama administration’s new stance on gay rights won't work"

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