Obama brings gay rights cause to Africa

June 28, 2013 4:08 am
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“So I think the US, particularly in those instances, had a greater burden to shift the balance away from the right wing evangelical toward a much more human policy and practice.”

Obama’s backing of equal gay rights is also seen as aimed at voters who have been disappointed in other areas.

“It’s a strategy that really speaks to a deep and growing constituency in the US, and it is important for a party that is longing to pay attention to its constituency,” said Woods.

“And clearly the movement for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) rights is a growing and vibrant part of the American social fabric and the Democratic Party.”

Amnesty’s director of law and policy Michael Bochenek said it was easier to lobby for an end to discrimination than to push for measures such as health or jobs.

“It doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t do it,” he added.

Ramping up its support for gay rights in 2011 with intense lobbying at the United Nations, the US also said foreign aid should be used as a tool to improve gay rights abroad.

In February, a Cameroonian lawyer who received death threats for defending gays and lesbians sought refuge in the US and was supported with a fund created in 2011 to protect rights of gays around the world.

Speaking in Washington last week to an association for gays and lesbian employees of the US diplomatic agencies, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke of a “moral obligation” against abuse.

“We have a moral obligation to decry the marginalisation and persecution of LGBT persons. And we have a moral obligation to promote societies that are more just, more fair, and tolerant,” he said.

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