Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Council for Global Equality Praises Senators for Posing LGBT-Related Confirmation Questions

Council for Global Equality Praises Senators for Posing LGBT-Related Confirmation Questions

During the presidential campaign, President Obama pledged that human rights violations based on sexual orientation would be "part and parcel of any conversations we have about human rights." (See a full transcript of his statement by clicking here.) Today, to ensure that pledges of change are realized, the Council for Global Equality is working closely with our organizational members and our many individual supporters to hold the Obama Administration to that high standard.

Our efforts began before President Obama was sworn into office. Early in January, the Council for Global Equality encouraged supportive U.S. Senators to ask nominees for senior State Department positions confirmation questions focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in an effort to explore their positions on global human rights concerns and same-sex partnership benefits for the State Department's LGBT employees.

Senators Feingold (D-WI) and Casey (D-PA), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, rose to the challenge and posed LGBT-specific questions to the State Department's senior foreign policy team in three different hearings. The questions were addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew. Now that these senior leaders are on record as supporting LGBT equality, the Council will monitor their attention to the issues, while simultaneously working with friendly Congressional offices to hold the State Department to its commitments. Click on the links below to read the confirmation questions and responses from:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

UN Ambassador Susan Rice

Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew (Statement Not Yet Available)

After Secretary Clinton's confirmation, a bi-partisan group of Congressional leaders, including Congresswomen Tammy Baldwin and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Senators Russ Feingold and Ron Wyden, sent Secretary Clinton a detailed letter to follow up on her responses during the hearing. (Read the Congressional letter to Secretary Clinton by clicking here.)

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