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Secretary Clinton: ‘Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights’

The United States will begin using American foreign aid to promote gay rights abroad, Obama administration officials said on Tuesday. President Obama issued a memorandum directing American agencies to look for ways to combat efforts by foreign governments to criminalize homosexuality. – U.S. to Use Foreign Aid to Promote Gay Rights Abroad

What Pres. Obama has done through this directive is historic. Having Secy. Clinton to deliver the message makes it resound.

To use American foreign aid to combat foreign governments from criminalizing homosexuality is something only a president can do and Barack Obama has done a great and controversial thing, given the focus on foreign aid and our economic state, through his decision.

This speech continues what Hillary began in Beijing, China as first lady in 1995, a speech that is foundational to my book, The Hillary Effect, and which is cited in the Introduction. The Hillary Effect itself, along with Secy. Clinton’s advocacy, helped by time, made possible by Pres. Obama’s courageous act, aided by the advocacy of gays and lesbians fighting for equality, which reached critical mass on DADT, manifested a global moment of pride for our country today.

Contrary to the naysayers, I always contended, in fact I knew, that Barack Obama could have no stronger partner than Hillary Clinton in his Administration. Having studied her for two decades, I had never a doubt. Their partnership here sings out.

It is a great day for which we owe Pres. Obama a great deal, with this speech by Secy. Clinton a historic moment for her as well.

Of course, in an election season, nothing this grand could go without scurrilous words from the right. It’s fitting that it comes from Rick Perry.

“This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop. … Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money. … This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong. President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles. I will not make that mistake.”

Ah yes, human rights as “special rights,” the threats of torture and even death for gays not enough to convince Republicans like Rick Perry that this is a human rights issue.

This is the sort of action that inspires people to repeat the axiom that presidential elections be seen as a choice and not a referendum. Only a president can make such a groundbreaking, sweeping decision. It’s a reminder that hits deep for many and will bind some people to Pres. Obama tightly, while also revealing a core tenet of the Democratic Party.

First Lady Hillary Clinton said “human rights are women’s rights.”

Today she spoke for America once again saying, “human rights are gay rights.”

It is a great day.

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