mostlycloudy
Saturday August 1st, 2015 12:17PM

Biden: Gay rights take precedence over culture

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Seeking to mobilize a global front against anti-gay violence and discrimination, Vice President Joe Biden declared Tuesday that protecting gay rights is a defining mark of a civilized nation and must trump national cultures and social traditions.<br /> <br /> Biden told a gathering of U.S. and international gay rights advocates that President Barack Obama has directed that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender men and women around the world<br /> <br /> "I don't care what your culture is," Biden told about 100 guests at the Naval Observatory's vice presidential mansion, "inhumanity is inhumanity is inhumanity. Prejudice is prejudice is prejudice."<br /> <br /> With anti-gay laws taking root in nearly 80 countries, Biden and other top White House officials met with religious, human rights and HIV health care advocates in a forum dedicated to promoting gay rights internationally.<br /> <br /> Biden, who has emerged as a leading gay rights advocate within the Obama administration ever since he got ahead of Obama in declaring his support for gay marriage, said that across U.S government agencies officials have been instructed to make the promotion of gay rights abroad a priority.<br /> <br /> Where countries fail to move toward protections of LGBT people, he warned, "there is a price to pay for being inhumane." Among those at the evening reception were leading gay rights activists and the ambassadors from Britain, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland.<br /> <br /> Earlier Tuesday, White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice cast the protection of gays from global discrimination, abuse and even death as one of the most challenging international human rights issue facing the United States. Biden called gay rights "the civil rights issue of our day."<br /> <br /> "To achieve lasting global change, we need everyone's shoulder at the wheel," she said. "With more voices to enrich and amplify the message - the message that gay rights are straight-up human rights - we can open more minds."<br /> <br /> Rice cautioned that the effort is difficult because laws limiting gay rights in some countries enjoy strong popular support. But she said cultural differences do not excuse human rights violations.<br /> <br /> "Governments are responsible for protecting the rights of all citizens, and it is incumbent upon the state, and on each of us, to foster tolerance and to reverse the tide of discrimination," Rice said.<br /> <br /> Last week, the U.S. imposed visa bans on Ugandan officials who are involved in corruption and are violating the rights of gay people and others. Uganda passed a law in February that strengthened criminal penalties for gay sex and made life sentences possible for those convicted of breaking the law.<br /> <br /> During his trip to Africa last year, Obama, while in Senegal, urged African leaders to extend equal rights to gays and lesbians. Senegal's president, however, pushed back, saying his country "still isn't ready" to decriminalize homosexuality. Seven countries have laws imposing death sentences for gay sex and Brunei is on track to becoming the eighth one.<br /> <br /> Tuesday's forum was the latest administrative attempt by Obama to promote gay and lesbian rights both in the United States and abroad. Obama successfully pushed to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military and his administration stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act years before the Supreme Court took it up.<br /> <br /> Earlier this month, Obama announced he will sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Last week, it also granted new benefits to same-sex couples, including those who live in states where gay marriage is against the law.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 7 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 7 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 7 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 7 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 7 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 7 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 7 months ago )
Local/State News
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 7 months ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 7 months ago )
More Georgians signing up for health insurance
A federal report says more Georgians have selected health insurance plans through a federally facilitated marketplace.
4:16PM ( 7 months ago )
Politics
Judge blocks release of new recordings by anti-abortion group
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge on Friday blocked the release of any recordings made at meetings of an abortion providers' association by an anti-abortion group that previously revealed secretly...
8:30AM ( 3 hours ago )
Firefighter killed battling blaze in California forest
ALTURAS, Calif. (AP) — A U.S. Forest Service firefighter from South Dakota has been killed battling one of more than a dozen wildfires raging across California, Forest Service officials said Friday ni...
12:31AM ( 11 hours ago )
Clinton releases tax, health records on busy Friday
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband paid close to $44 million in federal taxes since 2007 and she is in "excellent physical condition" — two facts that emerged Friday in a flood o...
7:59PM ( 16 hours ago )
Dozens of Clinton emails censored for security reasons
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dozens of emails that traversed Hillary Clinton's private, unsecure home server contain national security information now deemed too sensitive to make public, according to the latest...
5:54PM ( 18 hours ago )
Not guilty plea in federal court for church shooting suspect
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The white man accused of gunning down nine parishioners at a black church in Charleston wants to plead guilty to 33 federal charges, but his lawyer said in court Friday that he...
2:30PM ( 21 hours ago )