We have been really fortunate lately with our Secretaries of State, particularly from an LGBT perspective.
Secretary Clinton was obviously a rock star and from day one, wanted to do what she could to make the lives of LGBT people around the world better. And she was willing to start at home, with her own diplomats. And let me tell you, life is better for the changes we made.
And then we got our current Secretary of State, John Kerry. Secretary Kerry was an ally when it wasn't cool to be an ally. He was one of the the few, and the only one up for re-election at the time, who voted against the now defunct so-called Defense of Marriage Act. That took guts.
What he is doing now takes guts too. We are seeing a lot of backlash against LGBT people as a result of the Supreme Court overturning parts of DOMA. A flurry of laws have been considered (and thankfully dispatched, if not for the right reasons) under the guise of defending religious freedom. (And if you think your religious freedom is being interfered with by my right to marry, please read this.)
Abroad, worse things are happening. In Uganda, they have passed a law making it illegal for being gay. You can go to jail for life for the crime of who you are and who you love. You can also be thrown in jail for not reporting a family (so to the family member I unfriended on Facebook last night for his snarky comments about world response to this law, I guess you would happily turn me in and see me serve life in prison.)
So in light of this law, I am really happy to see that Secretary Kerry is responding to this and all of the laws targeting LGBT people by saying we are going to focus on combating discrimination against LGBT across the globe.
He gets it.
During a press conference on the release of our annual Human Rights Report, he said the law in Uganda and those in some 80 countries around the globe, from Nigeria to Russia to Iran, are "an affront to every reasonable conscience."
And then he said:
“You could change the focus of this legislation to black or Jewish, and you could be in 1930s Germany, or you could be in 1950s or ’60s apartheid South Africa,” Kerry said during a roundtable interview with reporters Wednesday. “It was wrong there, egregiously, in both places, and it is wrong here.”
And thank you.