08.01.14

Frontiers LA: LGBT Advocates, Schiff Urge Obama to Talk About Anti-Homosexuality Laws with African Leaders

Karen Ocamb of Frontier LA reports on Anti-Homosexuality laws in Africa:

The White House still plans to hold the long-planned, unprecedented summit Aug. 4-6 with nearly 50 leaders from African countries starting Monday, despite the deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus in West African nations, according to Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz. The purpose of the U.S.-African Summit is to “strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions,” with focus primarily on trade and investment and helping develop the next generation.  But while that might be the intention, LGBT advocates and Rep. Adam Schiff are pressing President Obama to add the proliferation of Anti-Homosexuality laws to the agenda, even as a Ugandan court has overturned that country's harsh measure.

But for LGBT people and allies who see Africa as a hotbed of homophobia, the summit holds an opportunity for the Obama administration to directly express disapproval of the wave and enforcement of anti-homosexuality laws in many of these countries. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is among the LGBT and human rights activists who has urged Obama to include anti-LGBT discrimination on the agenda. Schiff said in a statement to Frontiers:

“President Obama must make LGBT rights a priority at next week’s Africa Summit – this issue deserves to rise to the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda in Africa and elsewhere. During the recent markup of the 2015 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs appropriations bill, I offered an amendment that would have directed the State Department and USAID to make LGBT rights a central priority of our foreign policy.  Chairwoman Kay Granger has committed to work together on this issue and incorporate related language as the 2015 budget process moves forward.

“LGBT and human rights groups are absolutely right to insist on making this a foreign policy priority – when so many nations in Africa and elsewhere are moving in the wrong direction – and I am hopeful the Administration will hear the call.”

Schiff has been concerned for a long time about the spread of anti-homosexuality laws and the administration’s slowness in developing a comprehensive global strategic response to laws it deems violates human rights.

To read the full article, please click here.


By:  Karen Ocamb
Source: Frontiers LA