The Trump administration is launching a new initiative to encourage nations to decriminalize laws against homosexuality, according to NBC News.
The initiative is reportedly set to kick off Tuesday evening in Berlin, where the U.S. embassy is flying in LGBT activists from across Europe for a strategy dinner.
Leading the initiative is U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest ranking openly gay official in the Trump administration. Grenell is widely reported to be on President Trump’s short list to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nation in the aftermath of his previous pick, Heather Nauert, withdrawing her name from consideration of that post.
The initiative is reportedly aimed at drawing attention to the human rights record of Iran, which criminalizes homosexuality with the death penalty. The Jerusalem Post, a conservative publication in Israel, reported recently the Iran executed a gay man in a public hanging.
Iran, which has long had an antagonistic relationship with the United States, has also been the target of Trump’s ire. Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran deal, much to the consternation of its supporters and European allies who say it was preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
Other nations other than Iran continue to criminalize homosexuality, including nations that are considered U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. According to an annual report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association, more the 70 countries continue to criminalize — eight with the death penalty.
The initiative stands in contrast with Trump administration policy seeking to undermine LGBT rights, such as the transgender military ban, “religious freedom” initiatives seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination and legal filings from the Justice Department asserting LGBT people aren’t under protected under civil rights law.