Rick Perry published a statement today decrying the Obama administration's recent message of support for LGBT rights worldwide, saying that he does not support the endorsement of lifestyles that are considered "deeply objectionable" with many Americans.
The Obama administration released a memorandum calling for the safeguarding and protection of the rights of LGBT people around the world. This involved combating the criminalization of "LGBT status and conduct" and ensuring that those seeking to escape violence would be able to obtain asylum. It seems simple enough. Regardless of a person's stance on the LGBT "lifestyles," it's hard to imagine that anyone would have a problem with trying to prevent violence around the world directed at the LGBT community.
Rick Perry, however, seemed to be confused about what the memorandum actually said. In a statement, he said, "This administration's war on traditional American values must stop," and, "President Obama has again mistaken America's tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles."
Apparently Rick Perry believes that trying to prevent people from suffering the death penalty for being gay, or helping people who are physically abused for their sexual orientation escape, is akin to forcing everyone in the world to have the same opinion and forego their own faith. However, Obama's administration is not asking the world to force the legalization of gay marriage or other such controversial issues; this effort is aimed primarily at making sure that people do not suffer discrimination based solely on their sexual orientation. The fact that being gay is a crime in over 80 nations is a mark of how we treat our own species.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her own statement at a speech in Switzerland, where she made some rather powerful remarks. "Like being a woman, like being a racial religious tribal or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights."
Hopefully people can see this for what it is: it is not an attempt to force certain ideologies onto anyone, except for that of basic human rights and preventing discrimination. It is not an attempt to undermine personal religious beliefs or faith, even if Perry believes it is. While more rights for gays would be nice, it's not a stretch to believe that stopping violence, inequality and discrimination is something that can be agreed upon by all regardless of personal beliefs.
Photo: Gage Skidmore