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Obama, Clinton announce new focus on LGBT rights abroad

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton

President Barack Obama issued a memorandum Dec. 6 directing government agencies to “promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” the same day Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech for International Human Rights Day that stressed inclusion for gay and transgender people.

“Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today.  … I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time,” Clinton said during a speech at the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland, according to a State Department transcript.

The secretary of state noted that she speaks “knowing that my own country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect” and also acknowledged “that the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs.”